The Arts and Crafts Movement was established between 1880 and 1910. It first developed in the British Isles, then spread across the British empire, and into Europe and North America. The movement was established largely as a reaction to the then Decorative Arts movement, which was then regarded as an impoverished art form. The Arts and Crafts Movement stood for traditional craftsmanship using simple forms.
This movement was lead by artist William Morris, as inspired by the writings of Augustus Pugin and John Ruskin. But though Pugin lived from 1812 to 1852, the term Arts and Crafts movement was not coined until 1887.
The Arts and Crafts Movement officially started when Morris and fellow artist, Edward Burne-Jones established a group that they called as the Birmingham Set. They were joined by their friends at the University of Oxford and Pembroke College.
Aside from paintings and artworks, the Arts and Crafts Movement has strong links with interior design and architecture. This is because William Morris decided to get into architecture after establishing the movement. Burne-Jones, on the other hand, remained a painter.
Legacy and Influences
The simplicity of the Arts and Crafts movement has inspired several other art groups like Neo Plasticism, Art Nouveau, and the Bauhaus style. It is also regarded to be the prelude to the Modernism art movement. What this movement emphasizes on is the aesthetic designs and decorations that strongly oppose machine production art. The usual subjects of paintings and creations under this art movement include flora and fauna, domestic traditions, and the British countryside. This movement stood for craftsmen and designers who work by hand. Morris even went ahead to advocate for these free craftspeople who took pleasure in doing manual work.
William Morris created a lot of Art and Crafts paintings and his most notable one is the ‘Trellis’ (1862). John Henry Dearle also has a painting under this movement which he called as the ‘Artichoke’ (1897). He also has a screen designed between 1885 and 1910 to go with that art piece.
In furniture, the Arts and Crafts worthy to be noted are Gustav Stickley’s ‘Adjustable Back Chair No. 2342’; J.S. Ford’s ‘Rabbit Ear Arm Chair’, Harvey Ellis ‘Oak’ and Edwin Lutyen’s ‘Teak Bench’.
In architecture, the most famous Arts and Crafts structures are the Coleton Fishacre holiday home in Devon, The Robert Owen Museum in Newtown, and the Voewood House in Norfolk, among others.
The other artists whose names flourished under the Arts and Crafts movement include Charles Robert Ashbee, Edgar Wood, Karl Parsons, Water Crane, Baillie Scott, Julia Morgan, and more.