England's Arts and Crafts Movement

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The Arts and Crafts Movement originated in England in the 1860s and became popular in the United States during the 1880s. Many important architects, designers, and historians had a part in establishing the popularity of the movement. The goal behind the reform was to “change the working conditions of craftspeople while improving the quality of design” (Harwood, May, & Sherman, 2012). During this time, industrialization was rapidly increasing, and the Arts and Crafts era focused on design values from “medieval-like craft guilds” (Harwood, May, & Sherman, 2012). Many considerations were made during this period, including the promotion of efficient space planning to adapt to human needs. Another focus was on establishing harmony with nature and design unity within individual spaces. Quite possibly the most important feature of the reform was honesty of materials. Structure and function were among the most highly regarded characteristics of the craftsmen’s handiwork (Harwood, May, & Sherman, 2012).
Some members of England’s upper-middle class became disheartened by the social order that was currently in motion. During this time, depression struck England and unemployment rose at an alarming rate. Newly formed socialist groups protested in the streets of London out in fear of foreign agitators and coercion in Ireland. The protest ended in a police-driven charge to clear Trafalgar Square. Hundreds of people died that day and three people were killed. Today, November 13th is remembered as “Bloody Sunday” (Rowbotham, 2008).
Because of the spike in unemployment, Charles Ashbee, a young architect, began the Guild and School of Handicraft in the slums of London. Along with a few members from the slums, Ashbee also hi...

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...broidery, stenciling, applique, or cutwork (Harwood, May, & Sherman, 2012).

Later Interpretations

Even though the Arts and Crafts Movement did not survive with changing times, many companies continue produce Mission style furniture today. The first company to lead the trend was L & J.G. Stickley Company. In 1989, they reintroduced reproductions of early Mission furniture. Other companies quickly followed in both the United States and England. Many individual craftspeople still create furniture pieces to mimic design principles introduced during the Arts and Crafts period (Harwood, May, & Sherman, 2012).

Works Cited
Harwood, B., May, B., & Sherman, C. (2012). Architecture & Interior Design: An Integrated History to the Present. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, USA: Prentice Hall.
Rowbotham, S. (2008, February). Arts, Crafts & Socialism. History Today .
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