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Alan Crawford

(b Isleworth, Middx, May 17, 1863; d Godden Green, Kent, May 23, 1942).

English designer, writer, architect and social reformer . He was educated at King’s College, Cambridge. As a young man he was deeply influenced by the teachings of John Ruskin and William Morris, and particularly by their vision of creative workmanship in the Middle Ages; such a vision made work in modern times seem like mechanical drudgery. Ashbee played many parts and might be thought a dilettante; but his purpose was always to give a practical expression to what he had learnt from Ruskin and Morris. An intense and rather isolated figure, he found security in a life dedicated to making the world a better place.

In 1888, while he was training to be an architect in the office of G. F. Bodley and Thomas Garner (1839–1906), Ashbee set up the Guild and School of Handicraft in the East End of London. The School lasted only until 1895, but the Guild, a craft workshop that combined the ideals of the Arts and Crafts Movement with a romantic, apolitical socialism, was to be the focus of Ashbee’s work for the next 20 years. There were five guildsmen at first, making furniture and base metalwork. In ...

Article

James D. Kornwolf

(b Ramsgate, Oct 23, 1865; d Brighton, Feb 10, 1945).

English architect, interior designer, garden designer and writer . He was articled to Charles Davis (1827–1902), City Architect of Bath, from 1886 until 1889 but learnt little and was largely self-taught. In 1889 he started his own practice on the Isle of Man, where he built a number of buildings, including his own Red House, Douglas (1893). He was a leading member of the second-generation Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain and was among the first to build on the simpler, more abstract and stylized designs of C. F. A. Voysey, a refinement of the ideas of William Morris, Philip Webb, R. Norman Shaw and others from the period 1860–90. From about 1890 until World War I, the Arts and Crafts Movement, as represented by Baillie Scott, Voysey, C. R. Ashbee, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Parker & Unwin and others, became the most important international force in architecture, interior design, landscape and urban planning. The work of these architects influenced Adolf Loos and Josef Hoffmann in Austria, Joseph Maria Olbrich and Peter Behrens in Germany, Eliel Saarinen and others in Scandinavia, and Frank Lloyd Wright, Irving Gill, Greene & Greene in the USA....

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

Margaret Wagstaff

(b London, Sept 3, 1872; d Knotty Green, Bucks, Nov 15, 1959).

English furniture designer and writer. He was educated at Marlborough College and the Slade School of Art, London, before following an apprenticeship as a cabinetmaker from 1890 to 1893, when he joined the family firm, Heal & Son, established in 1810 in London by John Harris Heal (d 1833). By 1897 furniture was produced to his designs; in 1898 he became a partner, and his first catalogue, Plain Oak Furniture, was issued, which, like Simple Bedroom Furniture (1899), contains designs in a simple Arts and Crafts style. Heal exhibited regularly at the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society in London. His influence was evident in the catalogues and advertising of the firm (he had an enduring interest in typography), whose design policy he increasingly directed. In 1907 he was appointed Managing Director and in 1913 chairman. His inexpensive, stylish furniture was appropriate to the new garden-city developments, and in ...

Article

Luisa Morozzi

(Percy)

(b London, Feb 18, 1864; d Florence, April 14, 1916).

English collector, art historian, designer and architect. He joined the architectural practice of A(rthur) H(eygate) Mackmurdo as an associate in 1883 and was a partner from 1885 to 1890. Together they were leading members of the Century Guild of Artists (c. 1883–92). At this time he developed his skills as a graphic artist, creating designs for textiles, furniture and objects (e.g. London, William Morris Gal.), as well as decorative initial letters and elegant foliar and zoomorphic motifs that appeared in the Century Guild Hobby Horse magazine. The Horne–Mackmurdo partnership produced plans for Brewhouse Yard at Eton College and also for a series of houses in Uxbridge Road, London (both unexecuted). In 1889 Mrs Russell Gurney commissioned Horne to design the Chapel of the Ascension in Bayswater Road, London, decorated by Frederic Shields (destr. World War II).

The turning-point in Horne’s life and artistic development came when he was commissioned by the London publisher George Bell to write a monograph on Botticelli; for this reason he began making sporadic visits to Florence in ...

Article

Kathy Niblett

(Howell)

(b Hong Kong, Jan 5, 1887; d St Ives, Cornwall, May 6, 1979).

English potter and writer. Until he was ten years old he lived in the Far East, which had a most powerful influence on his life and work. In 1903–4 he studied drawing with Henry Tonks at the Slade School of Art, London. He kept a death-bed promise to his father to train to work in the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, but left after nine months and in 1908 he attended the London School of Art to learn etching with Frank Brangwyn. In 1909 he returned to Japan to teach etching and in 1911 was ‘seized with the desire’ to work in clay after attending a ‘raku yaki’ tea party, where he shared the instantaneous joy of Raku family pottery. He found a pottery teacher, Shigekichi Urano (1881–1923), who had become Kenzan VI c. 1900 (see Ogata family §(2)). After teaching him to pot, Kenzan built a kiln for Leach in ...

Article

Dinah Birch

(b London, Feb 8, 1819; d Brantwood, Cumbria, Jan 20, 1900).

English writer, draughtsman, painter and collector. He was one of the most influential voices in the art world of the 19th century. His early writings, eloquent in their advocation of J(oseph) M(allord) W(illiam) Turner and Pre-Raphaelitism and their enthusiasm for medieval Gothic, had a major impact on contemporary views of painting and architecture. His later and more controversial works focused attention on the relation between art and politics and were bitter in their condemnation of what he saw as the mechanistic materialism of his age.

Ruskin was the only child of prosperous Scottish parents living in London: his father was a wine merchant, his mother a spirited Evangelical devoted to her husband and son. Ruskin had a sequestered but happy childhood. He became an accomplished draughtsman (taught by Copley Fielding and James Duffield Harding) and acquired, through engravings encountered in Samuel Rogers’s poem Italy (1830), an early enthusiasm for Turner’s art. He was also an eager student of natural science, particularly geology. He travelled with his parents, seeing Venice for the first time in ...