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Art History: Arts and Crafts Movement: (1861 - 1900)

The Arts and Crafts Movement was an attempt to elevate the status of craftsmanship and the decorative arts following the rise of the Industrial Revolution and the development of mass production. William Morris, known mostly as a book designer, but also was a painter, writer and producer of textiles, stained glass, and wallpaper, headed the movement. He was an advocate of simplicity, good craftsmanship, and good design. Initially it was inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites’ gothic revival, notably Burne-Jones and Rossetti who produced designs for Morris’ company. The Arts and Crafts movement also rejected the revival styles that dominated the architecture and decorative arts of the Victorian period. They favored using local materials, designs, and traditions that allowed the works to function in the daily lives of their owners.

The followers of the Arts and Crafts movement believed that the Industrial Revolution removed creativity and individuality from society. They sought to re-unite the product and the worker and return to honest, beautiful and functional design that was not present in mass-produced items.

In both Great Britain and the United States, the movement relied on talent and creativity of individual craftsmen. However, over seas the movement differed in other ways. The British movement focused on the detailed gothic style. Designs were intricate, colorful and realistic. While the movement’s aim was to provide the common man with quality goods, the price of decently compensating a craftsman resulted in higher prices than most could afford. Thus the movement was limited to the upper class. In the United States, artists took inspiration from the material, highlighting the texture, color, and form of their materials. Furniture and architectural designs made use of the machines that were available, but left the assemblage and finish of the wood to the craftsman. The use of machines lowered the prices, making the products available to a wider consumer bracket.

Artists: (biography & artworks)

Crane, Walter - 1845 - 1915
Crane, Walter - 1845 - 1915


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Last updated and verified on: Tue 22 Sep 2009 11:29:17 AM EDT



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