You are on page 1of 9

The Arts and Crafts Movement revived traditional artistic craftsmanship with themes of simplicity, honesty,

function, harmony, nature and social reform. The movement promoted moral and social health through
quality of architecture and design executed by skilled creative workers, and was a revolt against the poor
quality of industrialized mass production.
The Arts and Crafts Movement in England
William Morris, often called the father of the English Arts and Crafts Movement, was a Ruskin admirer, a
socialist and an artist skilled at a variety of crafts. He took Arts and Crafts style ideals to a more general level,
calling for social and economic reform through an integration of labor and art in society that would bring
beauty as well as affordability to everyday objects and advance virtues such as simplicity, utility, honesty and
nature.
Morris' belief that architecture and decorative arts should be simple, functional, constructed of local
materials, and, above all, beautiful is summed up best in his own words:
"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."
By the late 19th century the Arts and Crafts ideas and convictions of William Morris were carrying to and
blooming in America.

Arts and Crafts architecture was, like the movement itself, defined more by a set of ideals and principles than a
particular architectural style.
Many of its leading figures were architects, rather than designers, and they came to view buildings and their
interiors as a whole. They worked in a variety of media, often with other artists, and hoped to bring a greater unity
to the arts. As a result, Arts and Crafts buildings often included sculpture and carved or tiled decoration,
sometimes with highly symbolic imagery.
Another defining feature of Arts and Crafts architecture was an interest in the vernacular. Architects used local
materials and traditional styles to create something that would not jar with its surroundings, but at the same time
distinctive and modern. Many hoped to revive traditional building and craft skills, or to design buildings that
looked as if they had grown over many years.
While the majority of Arts and Crafts buildings were domestic, the architects of the movement also addressed the
various needs of churches, museums and commercial buildings.

Ideals from the Arts and Crafts Movement


The ideals of the Arts and Crafts Movement are aesthetically expressed, in the past and present, in beautifully
handcrafted household objects, useful and uncluttered home decor, homes and landscapes built with local
materials, and home environments blended with nature.
These simple ideals were:
simple, refined aesthetics (beauty)
simple, functional design (utility)
living simply
social reform (individuals more rational; society more harmonious)
the virtue of a well decorated middle class home
handcrafted objects
high quality craftsmanship
the joy of working and crafting with one's own hands
creating objects well designed and affordable to all
creating harmony with nature
using and sustaining natural materials
maintaining a sense of space and environment
staying spiritually connected to home and nature
creating space for inner peace away from jobs and factories

Key Elements

Built of natural materials. Craftsman homes are typically built of real wood, stone and brick.

Built-in furniture and light fixtures. Built-ins were the hallmark feature of the Arts and Crafts era. Built-in
cabinets allowed the furnishings to be part of the architecture, ensuring design unity and economic use of
space. Even the light fixtures are often part of the design.

Fireplace. A fireplace was the symbol of family in the Arts and Crafts movement, so most homes feature a
dominant fireplace in the living room and a large exterior chimney.

Porches. Most homes in the Craftsman style have porches with thick square or round columns and stone
porch supports.

Low-pitched roofs. The homes typically have a low roof with wide eaves and triangular brackets.

Exposed beams. The beams on the porch and inside the house are often exposed.

Open floor plan. The Arts and Crafts Movement rejected the small, boxy rooms like those in Victorian houses.

The Arts and Crafts Movement supported economic and social reforms as away of attacking the industrialised age.
Many Art and Craft associations sprung up in this period such as Home Arts and Industries Association. This
association aimed to support and promote rural handicrafts. The Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, formed in 1887
promoted embroidery, fabrics, upholstery and furniture. The Guild of Handicraft (1888) was another association
set up during this time.
The philosophy behind the Arts and Crafts movement believed that the industrial revolution had made man less
creative as his craft skills had been removed from the manufacturing process. One aim of the movement was to
put man back in to the design and manufacturing process, Craft skills and good honest design would again be
central to the manufacturing process.
The Arts and Crafts movement influence other art movements such as the Bauhaus and Modernism, movements
that believed in simplicity of design. Bauhaus and modernism believed in design and manufacture that the general
public could afford. They also believed that simple functional designs should look good and be aesthetically
pleasing. Manufactured products should be enjoyed for the way they looked and not only for their functional
application.
The Art Nouveau movement,
encouraged the industrial
production of ornate , highly
decorated products. Art
Nouveau products were sold to
the rich, to decorate their
houses and they can still be
seen on public buildings such
as railway stations or
monuments, that were
constructed in the nineteenth
century.

simple craft work


manufactured by one person
or a small group
not mass production
affordable for the general
public
manufactured in small
numbers

The Arts and Crafts Movement Cast of Characters


BRITISH:
John Ruskin (1819-1900)
William Morris (1834-1896)
Walter Crane (1845-1915)
Charles Francis Annesley Voysey (1854-1923)
Charles Robert Ashbee (1863-1942)
Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928)
AMERICAN:
Charles Comfort Tiffany (18291907)
Charles Limbert (1854-1923)
Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915)
Gustav Stickley (1858-1942)
Charles Fletcher Lummis (1859-1928)
Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959)
Dard Hunter (18831966)

Red House, Kent


Red House was designed by Philip Webb in 1859, as a home
for William Morris and his wife Janey. Webb was a friend of
Morris and this was his first building. With its steep, redtiled roof, based on medieval models, and its emphasis on
natural materials, the house became a major influence in
Britain and abroad. It was furnished and decorated by
Morris's friends and family. There were hangings and
embroideries by Morris and Janey, tiles and murals by
Edward Burne-Jones, furniture, metalwork and tableware by
Webb. Their work led to the creation of Morris, Marshall,
Faulkner & Co., the firm that brought Morris's designs to a
wider public. Morris spent five years at Red House, some of
the happiest in his life, surrounded by a community of
friends and artists. The house was then in the midst of
orchards and countryside: now it is an oasis in a suburban
environment.

Architect
Philip Webb
Location
Bexleyheath, in Kent, England
Date
1859 timeline
Building Type
house
Construction System
masonry, brick
Climate
temperate
Context
rural
Style
English Romantic House, Arts
and Crafts, Eclectic Gothic
Notes
Designed for William Morris. Informal
plan, plain red brick.

Morris envisioned Red House as being not only a family home, but also a background to his ongoing artistic
work.[19] He wanted it to be situated in a rural area that was not far from London,[20] and chose to search in Kent
because it was his favourite county; he particularly enjoyed its geographical mix of large open spaces with small
hills and rivers, favourably contrasting it to the flat expanse of his native.
Unique in its design, Red House was fashioned to an L-shaped plan, with two stories and a high-pitched roof made
of red tile. The large-hall, dining room, library, morning-room, and kitchen were located on the ground floor, while
on the first floor were situated the main living-rooms, the drawing-room, the studio, and the bedrooms. The
servants' quarters were larger than in most contemporary buildings, reflecting the embryonic ideas regarding
working class conditions which would lead Morris and Webb to become socialists in later life. Windows were
positioned to suit the design of the rooms rather than to fit an external symmetry; thus a variety of different
window types are present, including tall casements, hipped dormers, round-headed sash-windows, and bull's eye
windows. The house lacked any applied ornamentation, with its decorative features instead serving constructional
purposes, such as the arches over the windows, and the louvre in the open roof over the staircase.
The architecture of Red House was inspired by styles of British design from the thirteenth-century. Many other
items of furniture were specially designed by Webb, including the oak dining table, other tables, chairs, cupboards,
copper candlesticks, fire dogs, and glass tableware. The plastered walls and ceilings were given simple designs in
tempera, although more complex designs were planned for the hall and main living rooms. Stained glass windows
were installed in the house, with designs created by Burne-Jones and Webb. The garden was similarly unique in its
design, with Morris insisting on integration of the design of the house and garden; the latter was divided into four,
small square gardens by trellises

The L-shaped layout of the house proved effective


in maximizing the efficient and clarity of room
distribution. The asymmetrical nature was also
important because the house was modeled after
traditional Gothic structures; also along this
theme, there are steep roofs, prominent chimneys,
cross gables and exposed-beam ceilings