- Welcome to The Wise Collector
- Knowledge Changes Everything!
- Buyer Beware!
- Buyer Beware!: Part II
- Caring for Your Antiques
- Coin Collecting
- McCoy Pottery
- Chinese Export Porcelain
- Frankoma Pottery
- The Arts and Crafts Movement
- The Art Deco Period
- Susie Cooper Pottery
- Limoges China
- 18th C American Furniture Styles
- The Bauhaus School: Weimar 1919
- The Bauhaus School: Design & Architecture
- The End of a Century: Art Nouveau Style
- Biedermeier: The Comfortable Style
- The Souvenir Age
- A History of Ceramic Tiles
- Flow Blue China
- Collect Vintage Christmas Decorations
- An American Thanksgiving Through theYears
- How to Find an Antiques Appraiser
- Louis Prang, Father of the American Christmas Card
- Thomas Cook and the Grand Tours
- Harry Rinker's 25th Anniversary
- Mid-Century Modern
- Will Chintz China become Popular Again?
- Ireland's Waterford Crystal
- Vintage Wicker and Rattan
- Fishing Gear Collecting
- Bennington Pottery
- Identifying Pottery and Ceramic Marks
- The Art of Needlework in the Arts & Crafts Era
- RECOMMENDED WEBSITES
- BLOG: RANDOM THOUGHTS
- E-BOOKS BY BARBARA BELL
The Arts and Crafts Movement
One of the hottest markets in antiques and collecting today is the Arts & Crafts era, from furniture in the Mission style to pottery, paintings, lighting and jewelry. The time period ranges from the 1850s to the 1920s, and includes subcategories such as Mission, Southwestern, English Arts & Crafts, and Craftsman. You may collect Stickley, Roycroft, Erp, Grueby, Pre-Raphaelite, Macintosh, or Limbert, to name just a few. Names such as Robineau, Rosetti, Bourne-Jones, Morris and Tiffany star in the auction catalogues.
The forefathers of this movement were the Pre-Raphaelites, a group of English
poets and painters enamored of the artistic aesthetics of medieval times. Their
inspiration was classical mythology, Celtic folklore, and a deep despair over the societal impact of the Industrial Revolution. Dante Gabriel Rosetti led the group which included painters such as Edward Bourne-Jones and, later, William Morris.
William Morris, one of the most inventive geniuses in modern history, soon became the driving force behind the Arts & Crafts movement. A Socialist in his politics, he sincerely believed that society needed to return to pre-Industrial Revolution times and that handcrafted objects for daily living could not only restore beauty to functional items, but be affordable to the masses. For more about his art and his mission, visit the William Morris Society's website.
His efforts and those of his circle encompassed everything from bookbinding to wallpaper. Their influence spread to architecture, fabric, furniture and pottery. Their results were stunning, and captivated both European and American buyers. An incredibly beautiful example of their work in book production can be seen at The Folio Society. This is theKelmscott Chaucer, arguably the most famous and most expensive book that was "never read." Unfortunately, making these things by hand caused them to be far too expensive for the lower classes to purchase. The market consisted of the wealthy - and, of course, machinery became necessary to keep up with the demand. As the Movement spread to the United States, fewer artists and designers disdained machinery, but seemed rather to embrace the best qualities of manufacturing. Thus true democratization of the product returned to the Movement. By utilizing mass production, for example, almost everyone could afford Stickley furniture. Arts & Crafts-style bungalows could be ordered from the Sears catalog.
Today a resurgence in the popularity of Arts & Crafts style has driven prices back out of the reach of the "masses." Recently, two Pre-Raphaelite chairs designed by William Morris in 1856 were purchased by the Delaware Art Museum for $550,000 apiece! There were several furniture manufacturers in upstate New York who came to symbolize the best of the Arts & Crafts style in the United States. They were the Stickley family, the most famous being Gustav Stickley and L. & J.G. Stickley. The L&JG Stickley factory, in operation since 1900, is still located in Manlius, New York. Its website offers virtual tours of the factory at Stickley where you can view their current catalog. Original Stickley furniture from the turn of the century commands high prices, but other manufacturers of Mission-style are also collectible, such as Limbert and Harden.
Some well-known dealers in Arts & Crafts are the Detelich Gallery in Santa Monica, California; David Rago in Lambertville, New Jersey, and Dave Rudd at Dalton's Antiques in Syracuse, New York.
One of the strongest elements of Arts & Crafts influence in the United States is in domestic architecture. Today, every part of the country has examples of homes designed to provide comfort, aesthetics, minimal upkeep, and affordability, a rebellion against earlier Victorian styles such as Queen Anne.
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