What was the Arts and Crafts movement in the British Isles?

Introduction

In response to the damaging impacts of industrialization and mass production on art, design, and craftsmanship in the Victorian era, the Arts and Crafts movement was born. Mechanization of manufacturing brought about by industrialization led to cheaper, mass-produced goods that were frequently of low quality and lacked the distinctiveness and skill of conventional hand-made goods. By highlighting the value of traditional workmanship and the significance of good design in daily products, the Arts and Crafts movement aimed to buck this tendency.

The movement’s founders, including William Morris, John Ruskin, and C.R. Ashbee, felt that everyone, not just the rich, should have access to art and design and that the decorative arts should be incorporated into everyday life. Additionally, they promoted the training of designers and artisans as well as the employment of conventional methods and materials in the manufacture of items.

In the late 19th century, the British Isles saw the start of the Arts and Crafts movement, which lasted until the beginning of the First World War. The movement frequently opposed mass manufacturing and industrialization and promoted traditional handicrafts utilizing simple forms. The Arts and Crafts movement was also a part of a larger social movement that aspired to enhance the working conditions for artists and make design and craftsmanship more accessible to a larger audience. It had a big impact on British Isles culture broadly as well as on the ornamental arts, architecture, and interior design.

The most impressive examples of early movement-era architecture, furniture, artwork, and textiles can be found in Britain. The locations in Britain for the Arts & Crafts Movement are listed below.

Chipping Campden

Chipping Campden

A tiny market town in the Cotswolds of England, Chipping Campden is renowned for its exquisite examples of medieval and 17th-century architecture. Through the efforts of architect and designer C.R. Ashbee and his Guild of Handicraft, which was situated in the town from 1902 to 1908, it played an important part in the Arts and Crafts movement. Using conventional methods and materials, Ashbee and his guild created a broad variety of adornment and utility items, including textiles, metals, and furniture. The town’s High Street, which features recognizable merchants’ homes from the 17th century, is another illustration of the Arts and Crafts architectural style. Chipping Campden is currently a well-liked vacation spot because of its attractive surroundings, ancient buildings, and art and craft stores.

Broadway Tower

Broadway Tower

In the English Cotswolds, close to the town of Broadway, lies the folliat tower known as Broadway Tower. It was created by the architect James Wyatt and constructed in 1798 as a folly, a structure for show only. With a height of 1,024 feet (312 meters), the tower provides views of the surrounding area. Arts and Crafts movement pioneer and author William Morris, who was also a designer, bought it in 1892, and he and his family used it as a rural retreat. Morris and his fellow artists, such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, frequented Broadway Tower and the neighborhood in search of creative inspiration. Today, Broadway Tower is a well-liked tourist destination where people may enter, take in the expansive views, and discover more about the tower’s past and the Arts and Crafts movement.

Sapperton

 

A little community in Gloucestershire, England is called Sapperton. The Cotswold Hills, where it is situated, is well-known for its stunning landscape and charming tiny towns. Due to the presence of various Arts and Crafts architects and designers who constructed residences and structures in the hamlet, including C.F.A Voysey and Ernest Gimson, Sapperton has a prominent presence in Arts and Crafts architecture and design. They were a member of the Arts and Crafts movement’s “Sapperton Group” of architects and designers. The Sapperton Tunnel, an important technical undertaking of its day that was built in the village, is also located there.

Owlpen Manor

Owlpen Manor

In the English community of Owlpen, Gloucestershire, there is a historical manor house called Owlpen Manor. It is regarded as one of the most significant examples of the Arts and Crafts movement in the Cotswold region and is an excellent example of an Arts and Crafts country home. The 11th-century mansion has undergone substantial remodeling and restoration throughout the years. C.F.A. Voysey created the existing Arts and Crafts-inspired structure in the late 19th century. It has a symmetrical front, a straightforward and beautiful design, and steeply pitched roofs. Leaded glass windows, paneling, fireplaces, and other historic elements can be seen throughout the interiors, which are also decorated in the Arts and Crafts design. The manor, as well as the gardens around it, are available to the public as a tourist destination and event location. It is regarded as a historically and architecturally significant structure and is also categorized as a grade I building.

Cheltenham

 

Cheltenham, a large spa town in England’s Cotswolds, is well-known for its Regency buildings and cultural activities. The town drew several important personalities from the Arts and Crafts movement at this time, including William Morris and C.R. Ashbee, and during this period it became known as the “Queen of the Watering Places”. The town’s scenic surroundings and magnificent architecture drew them in and served as creative inspiration for their work. The 1853-founded Cheltenham School of Art was a significant organization in the Arts and Crafts movement. The school offered lessons in traditional crafts including pottery, metallurgy, and bookbinding, and many of the students and professors were involved in the movement. Cheltenham continues to be well-known for its Regency buildings and cultural events, and it also draws a lot of tourists who are curious about the town’s Arts and Crafts past.

Brantwood

Portrait of John Ruskin, leaning against a wall at Brantwood, 1885

In the English Lake District, on the coast of Coniston Water, lies the ancient home and estate known as Brantwood. John Ruskin, an author, designer, and artist, lived there from 1872 until his death in 1900. Ruskin, a prominent member of the Arts and Crafts movement, based his literary, artistic, and charitable endeavors out of Brantwood. He was a prolific writer on topics related to art, architecture, and society, and the Arts and Crafts movement and the eventual evolution of the architectural style were greatly influenced by his work. In addition, he frequently painted the house and its surroundings, several of which are still on exhibit there. The Arts and Crafts movement and Ruskin’s work are on display at Brantwood, which is now a home museum. Visitors may tour the estate, the home, and the grounds while learning about Ruskin’s life and philosophy.

Blackwell

 

Blackwell is a unique architectural treasure that provides a wonderfully preserved view of life in the early 20th century.

One of the finest examples of Arts & Crafts architecture in the UK was designed by renowned architect Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott and is a Grade I listed structure. Arts & Crafts architecture was a movement that was influenced by the natural world and embraced traditional craft skills in an era of increasing mechanization and mass production.

Nearly all of Blackwell’s original features are still present, along with spotless furnishings and lovely decorative accents. The property never fails to inspire with its serene environment and stunning views of Windermere and the Coniston Fells.

Glasgow

 

The Glasgow School in Scotland contributed to the British Arts and Crafts Movement in another way. Buildings like the Glasgow School of Art are examples of the new contemporary design pioneered by architects like Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The Hunterian Museum displays the notion indoors in his own home’s dazzling white decor.

Kellie Castle

 

In Scotland’s Fife region lies a castle called Kellie Castle. It was constructed in the fourteenth century, and over the years, different alterations and improvements have been made. Robert Lorimer, an Arts and Crafts architect, refurbished and remodeled the castle in the late 19th century. He introduced several Arts and Crafts-style elements, including the use of natural materials, the integration of traditional workmanship, and a concentration on simplicity and utility. Many Arts and Crafts-inspired features, like stained glass windows, paneling, and fireplaces, can be seen throughout the castle. The castle is renowned for its exquisite gardens and landscaping, both of which were created by Lorimer.

Lindisfarne Castle

castle lindisfarne

On Holy Island in Northumberland, England, there is a 16th-century fortress called Lindisfarne Castle. The Arts and Crafts architect Edwin Lutyens refurbished it and transformed it into a private house at the beginning of the 20th century. It was first constructed as a fortress to safeguard the coast against Scottish invasions. Many Arts and Crafts-style features were added to the castle by Lutyens, who was renowned for his ability to masterfully combine traditional and modern architectural styles. These features include the use of natural materials, the incorporation of traditional craftsmanship, and a focus on simplicity and functionality. The interiors, which he also designed, have several Arts and Crafts-inspired features including paneling, fireplaces, and leaded glass windows.

Leicestershire

 

England’s East Midlands contain the county of Leicestershire. It is renowned for its beautiful rural areas, storied cities, and industrial past. There are still some significant examples of Arts and Crafts structures and designers in Leicestershire, even though the county is not as well renowned for its architecture and design as some other regions of the nation. For instance, the Grange in the town of Quorn, which is regarded as a significant example of Arts and Crafts architecture, was one of several homes constructed in the county by the architect and designer C.F.A. Voysey.

Wightwick Manor

Wighwick Manor, March 2016

Wightwick Manor is a Victorian villa in the West Midlands and one of the most well-known Arts and Crafts homes in the UK. It has magnificent William Morris interiors and dramatic half-timbered exteriors. There are lovely grounds at Wightwick Manor as well as a sizable collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings.

Red House

 

A rural residence called Red House may be seen near Bexleyheath, Kent, England. For the artist and designer William Morris, one of the key leaders in the Arts and Crafts movement, it was created and built by architect and designer Philip Webb between 1859 and 1860. The home is regarded as one of the early instances of the Arts and Crafts style and one of the most significant examples of Arts and Crafts architecture and design. Simple, practical, and respectful of traditional workmanship, the house’s design includes elements like a symmetrical exterior, steeply pitched roofs, and the use of organic materials like brick and tile.

David Parr House

 

The David Parr Home is a Cambridge terraced house that has been maintained. David Parr, the owner, decorated the inside between 1886 and 1926 in the Arts and Crafts design. The public is welcome to take a tour of the house with a guide in small groups. 

Standen

Interior of Standen

South of East Grinstead in West Sussex, England, is the Arts and Crafts-style home known as Standen. The National Trust owns the home and the gardens around it, which are accessible to the public. It is a listed structure of Grade I.

Mary Ward House

 

In Bloomsbury, London, England, there is a grade I-listed building and conference center called Mary Ward House. It served as the National Institute for Social Work Training’s administrative headquarters. The structure, which was constructed between 1896 and 1898, is situated on Tavistock Place between Marchmont Street and Tavistock Square.

Derwent House

White and Brown House Near River

Derwent House is a rural residence that may be found in the English community of Matlock Bath, Derbyshire. It was created in 1894 and 1895 as a vacation residence for industrialist Charles Lummis by architect and designer C.F.A. Voysey. The residence is regarded as one of the most significant examples of Arts and Crafts architecture and design in the region as well as one of Voysey’s finest creations. Simple, practical, and respectful of traditional workmanship, the house’s design includes elements like a symmetrical exterior, steeply pitched roofs, and the use of organic materials like brick and tile.

Stoneywell

 

In Ulverscroft, a scattered community close to Coalville in Leicestershire’s Charnwood Forest, there is a Stoneywell that belongs to the National Trust. The largest of a small collection of cottages built in Ernest Gimson’s Arts and Crafts design is Stoneywell. It was constructed in 1899 in partnership with Detmar Blow for Ernest’s brother Sydney Gimson as a vacation home, and the Gimson family owned it for more than a century, along with much of the original furnishings. It has gained widespread acclaim in the Arts and Crafts community as a component of a vernacular movement with enormous influence. The Arts and Crafts-style house, together with its furnishings, gardens, and forest, was able to be purchased by the National Trust in the spring of 2013 after a year-long campaign. In February 2015, it was made available to the public.

Caledonian Estate

 

The Caledonian Estate, which was constructed between 1904 and 1906, is located beyond these gates. It was a stunning structure in terms of architecture, with classical columns and steps leading to the entrance. The iron gates you can see were built with a curving form that pays homage to the Arts and Crafts style. The department looked to this creative trend because it gave the beautiful and functional equal weight.

Horniman Museum

 

In Forest Hill, London, England, there is a museum called The Horniman Museum and Gardens. Charles Harrison Townsend’s Modern Style design was commissioned in 1898 and completed in 1901. It is renowned for its sizable collection of taxidermied animals and features exhibits of anthropology, natural history, and musical instruments. The structure is categorized as Grade II*.

It is a non-departmental public organization that is under the purview of the English government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport. The museum received the Art Fund’s prize for Museum of the Year in 2022.

All Saints’ Church, Brockhampton

 

In the English county of Herefordshire, Brockhampton is home to the Church of All Saints, a parish church of the Church of England. Alice Foster commissioned the church as a tribute to her parents, Eben and Julia Jordan. Construction took place between 1901 and 1902 under the direction of William Lethaby, the architect. It is one of the outstanding examples of the works of the Arts and Crafts movement and is a Grade I listed structure.

Shaw’s Corner

 

Shaw’s Corner, the famous Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw’s principal residence, is now a National Trust site that is accessible to the general public as a writer’s house museum. The rooms are still largely the same as Shaw left them inside, and visitors may also see the garden and Shaw’s writing tent. The home is a modest building with Edwardian Arts and Crafts influences that is in the English community of Ayot St Lawrence. Welwyn Garden City is 6 miles away, while Harpenden is 5 miles away.

Pierre P. Ferry House

 

Attorney Pierre Ferry commissioned Seattle architect John Graham to create an American Craftsman-style house for him. Tiffany Studios created the intricate peacock art glass windows in the main hall. The mosaic’s wisteria theme was created by Orlando Giannini, a partner of the Chicago firm Giannini & Hilgart. It is the finest Arts and Crafts-style home in the Pacific Northwest. The structure is recognized as a landmark in Seattle and is included on the National Register of Historic Places.

Winterbourne Botanic Garden

 

In Edgbaston, Birmingham, England, there is a heritage site and botanical garden called Winterbourne. It is owned by the University of Birmingham.

The Nettlefold family purchased the property in 1904 to use as a family residence. The 7 acres (28,000 square meters) garden is a unique surviving example of an elite suburban “villa” garden from the early 20th century that was influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement.

The Blackfriar

 

On Queen Victoria Street in Blackfriars, London, there is a tavern known as The Blackfriar that is Grade II* listed.

On the site of what had formerly been a Dominican friary from the Middle Ages, it was constructed in 1875, and the architect Herbert Fuller-Clark renovated it around 1905. The sculptors Frederick T. Callcott and Henry Poole were responsible for a large portion of the interior decorating.

Edgar Wood Centre

 

In Victoria Park, Manchester, England, there is a former Church of Christ, Scientist structure called the Edgar Wood Centre. Edgar Wood created the church’s architecture in 1903. It is a Grade I listed structure and has been on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register. Nikolaus Pevsner said it was “the only religious edifice in Lancashire that would be necessary for a study of twentieth-century church design in all England.”

Debenham House

 

Debenham House (or Peacock House) at 8 Addison Road is a large, detached house in the Holland Park district of Kensington and Chelsea, W14. It is a Grade I listed building designed in the Arts and Crafts style by architect Halsey Ricardo.

Robert R. Blacker House

Robert R. Blacker House (Greene & Greene 1907

The Robert Roe Blacker House, also known as the Blacker House or Robert R. Blacker House, is a house in Pasadena, California, in the United States that is now listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It was built in 1907 for Robert Roe Blacker and Nellie Canfield Blacker. It was created by Henry and Charles Greene of the famed Pasadena architectural company Greene & Greene. The Greene brothers’ extravagant construction project for this home cost about USD 100,000.00. Everything in the home was custom-made, even down to the teak escutcheon plates on the mahogany panel doors upstairs and the ebony keys for the linen closets.

Gamble House

 

The Gamble House, often referred to as the David B. Gamble House, is a famous American Craftsman residence in Pasadena, California, and it was created by the architectural company Greene and Greene. A National Historic Landmark and a California Historical Landmark, it was built in 1908–1909 as a residence for David B. Gamble, the son of Procter & Gamble founder James Gamble. It is now accessible to the public for tours and activities.

Thorsen House

 

Berkeley, California’s William R. Thorsen House, often known as the Thorsen House, is a historic residence. It is one of only four remaining ultimate bungalows created by Henry and Charles Greene of the renowned architectural company Greene & Greene and the only one to be found in Northern California. It was constructed in 1909 for William and Caroline Thorsen. 

Rodmarton Manor

 

A large rural home built for the Biddulph family, Rodmarton Manor is located in Rodmarton, close to Cirencester, Gloucestershire. It is a listed structure of Grade I. Ernest Barnsley designed it, and it was built in the Arts and Crafts design around the beginning of the 20th century. After Ernest passed away in 1925, his brother Sidney Barnsley and subsequently his son-in-law Norman Jewson finished it. Local craftspeople handcrafted each piece of construction equipment out of locally sourced materials.

Whare Ra

 

In Havelock North, in the Hawkes Bay area of New Zealand, there is a structure with the name Whare Ra. Stella Matutina’s New Zealand chapter was housed in the structure. James Walter Chapman-Taylor, a senior member of the Order and one of New Zealand’s most well-known architects, designed it and oversaw the building’s construction.

One of the few temples still standing that could trace its origins to the original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was Whare Ra. It was the only temple that was housed in a permanent structure.

Sutton Garden Suburb

 

North of Sutton, near Benhilton, is the Sutton Garden Suburb. It was the first of the Sutton conservation areas to get this designation, in 1989, and was influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement. Between 1912 and 1914, Thomas Wall, who was well-known for his ice cream and sausages, created the Sutton Garden Suburb. Like the growth of the Hampstead Garden Suburb in north London, this suburb contributed to the garden city idea that was first imagined by Ebenezer Howard.

Honan Chapel

 

On the grounds of University College Cork in Ireland, there is a modest Catholic chapel known as The Honan Chapel (Irish: Séipéal U Eonáin; formerly Saint Finbarr’s Collegiate Chapel and The Honan Hostel Chapel). It was constructed in the Hiberno-Romanesque revival style. The structure was created in 1914, finished in 1916, and furnished in 1917. Its furnishings and architecture are examples of the Celtic Revival trend and recall the Insular art style that was popular in Britain and Ireland between the 7th and the 12th century.

Notable Leaders

There were several notable leaders in the Arts and Crafts movement, including:

  • William Morris

He was an important figure in the Arts and Crafts movement as a designer, author, and social activist. Using conventional methods and materials, he founded the decorative arts business Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. (later known as Morris & Co.), which manufactured furniture, wallpaper, textiles, and other ornamental products.

  • John Ruskin

He was a social critic, writer, and artist who pushed for the value of aesthetics and skill in art and design. Many of the key players in the Arts and Crafts movement, notably William Morris, looked up to him as a mentor and inspiration.

  • C.R. Ashbee

He founded the Guild of Handicraft in London, which created ornamental and practical products using conventional methods and materials. He was an architect, designer, and author. Later, he relocated the Guild to Chipping Campden in the English Cotswolds.

  • Charles Rennie Mackintosh

He was an architect and designer who played a key role in Scotland’s Arts and Crafts movement. He was renowned for his use of organic materials and simple, geometric shapes.

  • Walter Crane

He was a writer, illustrator, and artist most known for his designs for ceramics, textiles, and wallpaper that were greatly influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement.

These figures, along with several others, contributed to the spread of the Arts and Crafts movement’s key ideas, which were good design, traditional craftsmanship, and the incorporation of art and design into daily life.

Great Artists

Together with Willam Morris, Walter Crane and C.R. Ashbee, socialists made up a large portion of the Arts and Crafts movement’s designers. They are:

  • Thomas James Cobden-Sanderson

English artist and designer Thomas James Cobden-Sanderson (1840–1922) was a significant contributor to the Arts and Crafts movement. He was a bookbinder, typographer, and designer of fine print books. His work in the fields of typography and bookbinding is particularly renowned. Cobden-Sanderson was a founder member of the Doves Press, an exclusive publishing house founded in 1900 and renowned for its expert bookbinding and printing. He was also friends with and worked with the designer and artist William Morris. The bookbinding and typography created by Cobden-Sanderson are regarded as some of the best examples of the Arts and Crafts movement. He promoted the use of traditional methods and high standards of craftsmanship, and his influence continues to be seen in the field of book arts.

  • Philip Webb

English architect and designer Philip Webb (1831–1915) had a significant role in the Arts and Crafts movement. His most famous work is Red Home, a Kentish rural house that is regarded as one of the first instances of the Arts and Crafts movement. The simplicity, practicality, and reverence for traditional workmanship that typified Webb’s architectural style. He created several structures, including as homes, churches, and public buildings, and his creations are regarded as some of the most avant-garde and significant of the Arts and Crafts movement.

  • Charles Faulkner

English artist and designer Charles Faulkner (1843–1907) belonged to the Arts & Crafts movement. Designer, artisan, and educator Faulkner was particularly well-known for his metalwork. Faulkner’s writing was distinguished by its clarity, usefulness, and respect for conventional workmanship. His metalwork creations frequently used geometric and abstract elements and were inspired by Renaissance or medieval motifs. His creations are regarded as some of the Arts and Crafts movement’s most significant.

  • Arthur Heygate Mackmurdo

English architect, designer, and author Arthur Heygate Mackmurdo (1851–1942) was a significant player in the Arts and Crafts movement. Mackmurdo was a founding member of the Century Guild, a business engaged in ornamental arts from 1882 to 1887. He was also an architect who created several structures, notably the House of Beauty, the Century Guild’s own showroom. Mackmurdo’s designs were distinguished by their clarity, usefulness, and reverence for conventional workmanship. In addition, he published several works on architecture and design, such as “The Beauty of Life” and “The Decorative Arts of Today.” His creations are regarded as some of the Arts and Crafts movement’s most significant.

Artworks and Artists

  • Red House (1859-1860)

Artist: Philip Webb and William Morris

 

  • Trellis Wallpaper (1862)

Artist: Morris & Co.

 

  • Tulip and Rose

Artist: Morris & Co.

  • Geoggrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1904)

Artist: William Morris

  • Gamble House (1908-1909)

Artist: Greene & Greene

 

  • Vase (1922)

Artist: Sarah Agnes Estelle Irvine and Joseph Meyer

 

  • Sideboard (1897)

Artist: Charles F.A. Voysey

Conclusion

There are several Arts and Crafts movements in the British Isles which marked the beginning of a change in how much value society put on how things were made. The Arts and Crafts movement was significant to Britain because it was born there and had a long-lasting influence on the nation’s art, architecture, design, and culture.