ESSAY | Progress from the Past: The Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain


“Britain’s nineteenth-century Arts and Crafts movement had a curious relationship with Victorian notions of social advancement. Whereas proponents of the Industrial Revolution encouraged mechanization and new technology, people in the Arts and Crafts movement looked back to the Middle Ages. Both camps firmly believed in progress—the improvement or even perfectibility of the human condition—yet one group looked to the future while the other favored a return to the past.

Arts and Crafts advocates opposed industrialization and factory-made goods on aesthetic and moral grounds: mass production dehumanized workers, and the cheapness of low-quality decorative items encouraged people to decorate their homes with excessive ornamentation. Ironically, although Prince Albert wanted the Great Exhibition to encourage beautiful design, several of the event’s own organizers publicly decried poor examples of design throughout the exhibition. Morris idealized medieval craftsmen, who made their products by hand, and medieval art, which expressed profoundly Christian themes in beautifully designed furniture, textiles, and architecture…” more.

SOURCE: Interweave


Art Talks with Rebecca Albiani

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood | March 20 | 11am

William Morris: The Revolutionary | April 17 | 11am

The Arts and Crafts Movement: Form, Function, and Influence | May 15 | 11am