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William Morris The Kelmscott Press

The Crafts Guilds Influence on Art Education

The Decline of Arts and Crafts

Patterns From Nature

William Morris (1834 – 1896)

Facultad de Arquitectura Unidad de Aprendizaje:

William Morris was a leading member of the Arts and Crafts Movement. He is best known for his pattern designs, particularly on fabrics and wallpapers. was an artist, designer, printer, typographer, bookbinder, craftsman, poet, writer and champion of socialist ideals.

'The Diligent Study of Nature'

The creative approach that William Morris employed in his designs was revealed in a lecture from 1874: Morris felt that the 'diligent study of Nature' was important, as nature was the perfect example of God's design. He saw this as the spiritual antidote to the decline in social, moral and artistic standards during the Industrial Revolution. Morris encouraged artists to look to the past for their inspiration believing that the art of his own age was inferior.

The medieval crafts guilds were groups of artists, architects, and craftsmen who formed an alliance to maintain high standards of workmanship, regulate trade and competition, and protect the secrets of their crafts.

They operated on a Master, Journeyman and Apprentice system where the master would take on apprentices to train them in the skills of his craft. In time, if a journeyman demonstrated outstanding skill in his craft, he could advance in the guild to the position of master and take on his own apprentices.







Patterns from Nature

Morris was one of the great pattern designers. His classic designs are still commercially available as wallpapers and textiles. His patterns are inspired by his intimate knowledge of natural forms discovered through drawing and stylized through his detailed knowledge of historical styles.

WILLIAM MORRIS (1834-1896) 'Trellis', 1862 (wallpaper design) The first attempt at a wallpaper design of Morris, was based on roses growing over trellises in the garden at the Red House

The Kelmscott Press WILLIAM MORRIS (1834-1896) 'Typefaces', 1897 (printed page)

William Morris -The Kelmscott only ran for seven years and closed in 1898, two years after the death of Morris.

'The Nature of Gothic', Kelmscott Press 1892

'The Nature of Gothic', a chapter from 'The Stones of Venice' by the art critic, John Ruskin.

The Arts and Crafts Movement (1850-1900) was a reaction against the Industrial Revolution. The development of the steam engine by James Watt in 1765 led to the mechanization of industry, agriculture and transportation and changed the life of the working man in Britain.

The 'dark Satanic mills' of the Industrial Revolution

The Crafts Guilds The Journal of the Century Guild Hobby Horse (Edition No1, April 1884)

The Arts and Crafts Movement formed into various crafts guilds to try to recreate the dignified working environment that existed in the medieval crafts guilds. The Century Guild was the first of the craft guilds to form. It was founded in 1882, under the influence of William Morris, by the architect and designer A.H. Mackmurdo.

Influence on Art Education

WALTER CRANE (1845-1915) 'Neptune's Horses', 1893 (oil on canvas)

Among other noteworthy guilds was the prestigious Art Workers Guild, whose membership included lecturers and principles from the leading art schools.

The Arts and Crafts Movement raised the status of design in art education and established it as an essential element in the manufacturing process.

The Decline of Arts and Crafts

DR. CHRISTOPHER DRESSER (1834-1904) 'Teapot', 1879

The greatest legacy of the Arts and Crafts movement was their understanding of the relationship between design and our quality of life.

Morris said,


nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."

Facultad de Arquitectura

• William Morris • (1834 – 1896)

William Morris  

Arts and crafts