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Level X

History – The ‘Beautiful & Useful’ Arts and Crafts Movement: How it Changed Interior Style (1860s-1914)


“Have nothing in your houses which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” (William Morris 1880). He and others believed that mass production produced inferior goods and they returned to the styles of earlier ages, utilising natural materials that were not only beautiful but functional.

We study the very colourful style of the Arts and Crafts Movement which began in Britain around 1860 and comprised a group of craftsmen, artists, designers and architects who aimed to raise the status of the applied arts (useful, with a utilitarian purpose e.g. weaving or pottery) to that of the fine arts (aesthetically significant -; architecture, painting, sculpture and some graphic arts).

The Movement was largely inspired and led by William Morris (1834-96), poet, artist and architect whose firm, Morris, Marshall, & Faulkner, founded 1861, promoted hand-made textiles, books, wallpapers and furniture. The idea was to return to the use of natural materials and recollection of older styles, notably medieval, and to open up and brighten homes. It changed architecture and interior style in an innovative, fascinating and wonderfully artistic manner.

Course is illustrated with masses of Victorian paintings on powerpoint slideshows.

N.B. History courses may contain outdated attitudes, cultural depictions and language which cause offence today. They have to be viewed from an historic perspective. When discussing the content these views are not those of the tutor.

Tutor Sarah Tobias. This course runs on a Saturday 1100-1500


Suitable for all abilities


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