Arts and Crafts

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Image features a half-length figure of a knight in armor. The drawing appeared as an illustration in "Le Morte D'Arthur" (The Death of Arthur). Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Defiant Knight
The publisher J.M. Dent was an admirer of William Morris’s Kelmscott Press, founded in 1889 and known for expensive, lavish publications featuring illustrations and decorations by artists such as Edward Burne-Jones printed from hand-cut woodblocks. Dent conceived the idea of producing books in the style of the Kelmscott Press but at a much lower cost,...
Image shows a block-printed wallpaper with a medallion stripe pattern printed in a monochrome blue-gray colorway, with each medallion surrounded by two dogs and two birds. Please scroll down to read the blog post for this object.
Merging Craft and the Modern
In celebration of Women’s History Month, March Object of the Day posts highlight women designers in the collection. This sidewall, with its medallions and stylized animal imagery, brings to mind medieval and Renaissance brocades made centuries earlier. However, its two-tone blue gray color scheme has little in common with the vibrant colors of those rich...
Hand-Beaten for Hand-Tossed Salad: Kalo Shop Salad Servers
Founded by Clara Barck Welles in 1900, the Kalo Shop was one of the most successful workshops of the Arts and Crafts movement. The name “Kalo” derives from the Greek word for beauty and the motto of the Kalo Shop was “Beautiful, Useful, and Enduring.”[1] The output of the Kalo Shop lived up to this...
Bound but not Broken
Frank Karslake introduced the Guild of Women Binders in 1898 after meeting an influential group of female bookbinders in various parts of Britain; many of whom worked in shops under men or even from their own homes.  Karslake first became interested in these makers in 1897 when he visited the Victorian Era Exhibition at the Earl’s...
Return of the Native
This frieze by the New York-based Robert Graves Co. is an excellent example of the use of Native American motifs in American design at the turn of the century. Though this was an age that saw an unprecedented suppression of native culture, Native American art itself saw an unprecedented wave of appreciation and praise, particularly...
Cat on a Hot Thin Tile: A Grueby Faience Company Tile
The Grueby Faience Company was founded in Revere, Massachusetts, in 1897. Grueby quickly grew in popularity and soon collaborated with Tiffany and Co. to produce ceramic lamp bases. Best known for their creation of a distinctive forest-green glaze, Grueby used this colorway on their iconic vases and tiles. Grueby garnered many awards, including accolades from...
An Art Nouveau Freak
Floating trees with foliage like red clouds form the dominant motifs of this unusual, slightly psychedelic early twentieth-century sidewall. This excellent example of an Art Nouveau-style paper was made by Benton, Heath, & Co. of Hoboken, New Jersey. American wallpaper producers first started making papers in the Art Nouveau style in the mid-1890s, after examples...
Pattern from the Past
William De Morgan’s ceramic decoration was often inspired by the medieval world, similar to the practice of his dear friends William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. De Morgan’s vases and tiles were frequently adorned with fantastical animals, beasts, and grotesques. On this vase, two stylized fish recall the designs found in illuminated manuscripts. Their bodies gently...
Geometry Meets Nature
This wallpaper manufactured by Wallace Wall-Paper Co. is dated 1906-08. Although it is machine-printed on paper, the vertical thread-like lines make it look like a woven textile. A variety of textiles have been used to cover walls, so it is not surprising that the earliest and consistent influence on wallpaper design has come from textiles....