In this Groundbreaking reassessment of the conventional understanding of a cohesive 'Arts and Crafts movement' in Britain, Imogen Hart argues that a sophisticated mode of looking at decorative art developed in England during the second half of the nineteenth century.
Focusing on specific Victorian contexts in which Arts and Crafts objects were encountered, the author demonstrates the capacity of such objects to reward sustained visual analysis. Bringing to light a significant number of little-known visual and textual sources, Arts and Crafts objects also insists that the history of British design between the 1830s and the 1910s is more complex and interwoven than concepts of clearly differentiated 'movements' allow for.
Reinvesting the objects with the original importance ascribed to them by their makers and users, this book places furniture, metalwork, tiles, vases, chintzes, carpets and wallpaper at the centre of a rigorous reassessment of the concept of 'Arts and Crafts'. The book offers radical new interpretations of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society and the homes of William Morris, alongside illuminating analyses of less familiar but equally rich contexts such as the Arts and Crafts Museum at the Manchester Municipal School of Art and a series of lively interior decoration manuals.
An insightful study that calls for a major reconsideration of the history of Victorian design, this book is essential reading for students, teachers and scholars of nineteenth-century British art, design, art education and interiors. It will also appeal to general readers with an interest in Victorian art and cultural history.
About the Author
Imogen Hart is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Yale Center for British Art
Table of Contents
List of plates viii
List of figures ix
List of abbreviations xv
1 Arts and Crafts precursors 31
2 The homes of William Morris 67
3 Objects at Morris & Co. 112
4 The Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society 148
5 The Arts and Crafts Museum at the Manchester Municipal School of Art 181
Select bibliography 225