The Arts and Crafts Movement – A Brief Explanation

Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The Wassail c.1900

The Arts and Crafts Movement was a reaction to the mechanisation that had grown out of the Industrial Revolution and got its name from its promotion of art and handicraft in place of machine production. All kinds of arts and manufacture were influenced by the movement, which reached its height between 1880 and 1910. Among the key names involved in the movement were William Morris, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the Pre-Raphaelites and even garden designer Gertrude Jekyll.

As a group of reformists the Arts and Craft Movement were also concerned with the division of labour and the way that an assembly-line process had developed from industrialisation. Workshops, post Industrial Revolution, tended to have staff who carried out only one task required for the production process and the movement members were concerned that it would spell the end of the master craftsman, capable of creating a piece from scratch.

The gardens at Hidcote Manor nearChipping Campden in Gloucestershire are recognised as a fine example of how the design principles of the Arts and Crafts Movement could be applied to non-manufactured items.