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Article

Alan Crawford

Informal movement in architecture and the decorative arts that championed the unity of the arts, the experience of the individual craftsman, and the qualities of materials and construction in the work itself.

The Arts and Crafts Movement developed in the second half of the 19th century and lasted well into the 20th, drawing its support from progressive artists, architects and designers, philanthropists, amateurs, and middle-class women seeking work in the home. They set up small workshops apart from the world of industry, revived old techniques, and revered the humble household objects of pre-industrial times. The movement was strongest in the industrializing countries of northern Europe and in the USA, and it can best be understood as an unfocused reaction against industrialization. Although quixotic in its anti-industrialism, it was not unique; indeed it was only one among several late 19th-century reform movements, such as the Garden City movement, vegetarianism, and folksong revivals, that set the Romantic values of nature and folk culture against the artificiality of modern life....

Article

(b Leiden, Oct 19, 1877; d Zoeterwoude, Oct 23, 1933).

Dutch potter and sculptor. He trained as a drawing teacher but took a particular interest in bookbinding, decorative woodcuts and household pottery. From the example of the Arts and Crafts Movement he learnt the value of traditional techniques and craftsmanship. In 1898 he settled in Gouda in order to perfect his technical knowledge of pottery-making. Three years later he started his own ceramics firm in Leiderdorp. His ceramics are characterized by their intentionally plain shapes, combined with mostly geometric linear ornament and frequently with sculptural decoration applied in low relief. His work attracted international attention and gained awards at several exhibitions, including the Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte Decorativa in Turin (1902) and the Exposition Universelle et Internationale in Brussels (1910). Around 1907 Brouwer began to experiment with large-scale ceramic decoration. His terracotta ornaments and façade sculptures were greatly admired by contemporary architects, who secured him important commissions in this field, for example the ...

Article

Henry James Bartlett-Ellis

(b Alnwick, Northumb., Dec 2, 1840; d London, Sept 7, 1922).

English bookbinder and writer. Between 1859 and 1863 he attended Owens College (now Victoria University of Manchester). He then read classics at Trinity College, Cambridge University, and later studied law there. He was called to the Bar in 1871 and was immediately commissioned to work for the London & North Western Railway. Becoming ill through overwork, he was sent in 1881 to recuperate in Siena, where he met the suffragette Anne Cobden (d 1926). He married her in 1882, taking her surname as part of his. Their exchange of enlightened ideas led him to consider a more satisfying way of life, and in 1883 he responded to the suggestion of Jane Morris, William Morris’s wife, that he pursue bookbinding in London. He became an apprentice to Roger de Coverly and in 1887 won the Society of Arts prize. Although Cobden-Sanderson was close to Morris and was influenced by him, he disagreed with the aesthetic realized in the books produced by Morris’s Kelmscott Press (...

Article

Christopher Newall

(b Liverpool, Aug 15, 1845; d Horsham, W. Sussex, March 14, 1915).

English painter, illustrator, designer, writer and teacher. He showed artistic inclinations as a boy and was encouraged to draw by his father, the portrait painter and miniaturist Thomas Crane (1808–59). A series of illustrations to Tennyson’s The Lady of Shalott (Cambridge, MA, Harvard U., Houghton Lib.) was shown first to Ruskin, who praised the use of colour, and then to the engraver William James Linton, to whom Crane was apprenticed in 1859. From 1859 to 1862 Crane learnt a technique of exact and economical draughtsmanship on woodblocks. His early illustrative works included vignette wood-engravings for John R. Capel Wise’s The New Forest: Its History and its Scenery (1862).

During the mid-1860s Crane evolved his own style of children’s book illustration. These so-called ‘toy books’, printed in colour by Edmund Evans, included The History of Jenny Wren and The Fairy Ship. Crane introduced new levels of artistic sophistication to the art of illustration: after ...

Article

Stephen Stuart-Smith

(Rowton)

(b Brighton, Feb 22, 1882; d Harefield, Middx [now in London], Nov 17, 1940).

English sculptor, letter-cutter, typographic designer, calligrapher, engraver, writer and teacher. He received a traditional training at Chichester Technical and Art School (1897–1900), where he first developed an interest in lettering. He also became fascinated by the Anglo-Saxon and Norman stone-carvings in Chichester Cathedral. In 1900 Gill moved to London to become a pupil of William Douglas Caröe (1857–1938), architect to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. He took classes in practical masonry at Westminster Institute and in writing and illuminating at the Central School of Art and Design, where he was deeply influenced by the calligrapher Edward Johnston. Johnston’s meticulous training was to be a perfect preparation for Gill’s first commissions for three-dimensional inscriptions in stone, the foundation stone for Caröe’s St Barnabas and St James the Greater in Walthamstow, London, and the lettering for the lychgate at Charles Harrison Townsend’s St Mary’s, Great Warley, Essex. Further commissions followed after Gill left Caröe in ...

Article

Phillip Dennis Cate

(b Lausanne, May 25, 1841; d Paris, Oct 23, 1917).

French illustrator, decorative artist and printmaker of Swiss birth. Before arriving in Paris in the autumn of 1871, Grasset had been apprenticed to an architect, attended the Polytechnic in Zurich and travelled to Egypt. In Paris he found employment as a fabric designer and graphic ornamentalist, which culminated in his first important project, the illustrations for Histoire des quatre fils Aymon (1883). Grasset worked in collaboration with Charles Gillot, the inventor of photo-relief printing and an influential collector of Oriental and decorative arts, in the production of this major work of Art Nouveau book design and of colour photomechanical illustration. Grasset used a combination of medieval and Near Eastern decorative motifs to frame and embellish his illustrations, but most importantly he integrated text and imagery in an innovative manner which has had a lasting influence on book illustration.

In 1881 he was commissioned by Rodolphe Salis to design furnishing in a medieval style for the latter’s new Chat Noir cabaret in Montmartre. This project brought him in direct contact with Montmartre avant-garde artists such as Adolphe Willette, Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, Henri Rivière and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Grasset’s numerous posters include ...

Article

Pamela Reekie Robertson

(b Bearsden, nr Glasgow, March 20, 1875; d Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway, Aug 3, 1949).

Scottish illustrator, painter, designer and writer. She studied at Glasgow School of Art and taught book decoration there from 1899 to 1908. In 1908 King married the designer and painter Ernest Archibald Taylor (1874–1952) and moved to Manchester. They were in Paris from 1911 to 1915 and then in Kirkcudbright. One of the most successful and productive practitioners of the Glasgow style, she is best known for her book illustrations and covers. Designs are documented for over 130 publications. The most successful of these, such as an edition of William Morris’s The Defence of Guenevere (London, 1904), are delicate line drawings incorporating stylized figures and enriched with areas of intricate detail. These decorative works suggest an awareness of the work of Aubrey Beardsley, Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, as well as Sandro Botticelli and 19th-century Japanese woodblock prints. Her varied subject-matter included romantic legends, historic architecture and botanical studies. Following her contact in Paris with Léon Bakst’s ballet designs, and an introduction to batik printing, her style became more broadly handled and colourful. King also designed jewellery, silverware and fabrics for ...

Article

Sally Mills

(b Markesan, WI, Oct 1, 1860; d San Francisco, CA, Feb 19, 1945).

American painter, designer, and teacher. First trained by his architect father, he worked as a freelance illustrator before deciding in 1885 to study painting in Paris. He spent about 15 months at the Académie Julian and exhibited at three Salons before returning to California in 1889. He soon began teaching at the California School of Design (now the San Francisco Art Institute) and in 1896 was promoted to Director. During his 16-year tenure, Mathews reformed the curriculum in line with academic practice in Paris and New York and exerted a powerful influence over hundreds of students. Following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, Mathews left the school, aligning himself with artists, architects, and businessmen eager to rebuild San Francisco. With his wife (and former student), Lucia Kleinhans Mathews (1870–1955), and a partner, John Zeile, he embarked on several ventures: the magazine Philopolis (1906–16) emphasized art and city planning; the Philopolis Press (...

Article

Peter Stansky

(b Walthamstow [now in London], March 24, 1834; d London, Oct 3, 1896).

English designer, writer and activist. His importance as both a designer and propagandist for the arts cannot easily be overestimated, and his influence has continued to be felt throughout the 20th century. He was a committed Socialist whose aim was that, as in the Middle Ages, art should be for the people and by the people, a view expressed in several of his writings. After abandoning his training as an architect, he studied painting among members of the Pre-Raphaelites. In 1861 he founded his own firm, Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. (from 1875 Morris & Co.), which produced stained glass, furniture, wallpaper and fabrics (see §3 below). Morris’s interests constantly led him into new activities such as his last enterprise, the Kelmscott Press (see §5 below). In 1950 his home at Walthamstow became the William Morris Gallery. The William Morris Society was founded in 1956, and it publishes a biannual journal and quarterly newsletter....

Article

(Maunoir)

(b Old Alresford, nr Winchester, Oct 14, 1853; d South Gorley, nr Fordingbridge, Hants, Dec 21, 1940).

English printmaker, designer and illustrator. He read law at Oxford, and though called to the Bar in 1876 he never practised law. Instead he exercised an innate gift for drawing and painting in watercolours, and by 1880 he was exhibiting at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. He published his first books of etchings, The Itchen Valley and The Avon, in 1881. An early friendship with W. A. S. Benson drew him into the Arts and Crafts circle where, over the next decade, he became one of its leading exponents, designing wallpapers, textiles, metalwork and furniture. He married Benson’s sister Agnes in 1883, and by 1886 the family were living in Kensington.

With Benson, Sumner founded the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society in London (1887), and in 1893 with his help the Fitzroy Picture Society was formed, with the intention of making art more widely available. For the Fitzroy he made a series of posters. A greater legacy was his applied decoration of some 11 church interiors throughout England and Wales. For church walls Sumner revived ...