20th century


People who enjoy the Modern movement often criticize the English Arts & Crafts movement as heavy and clumsy, but as the 19th century ended a group of designers emerged. Furniture and the decorative arts were transformed by simplification, streamlining and stylization. The turn of the century turned people away from the excessive Victorian décor, and towards a new design that came to be known as Modernism. These craftsmen, by honoring agrarian past and being open to an industrial future, redefined design.

Trade between England and Japan awakened English sensibility; and in response to the industrial revolution, Philosopher John Ruskin advocated a return to straightforward design, natural materials, and hand-craftsmanship. William Morris adopted Ruskin’s philosophy and became the main figure in the Arts and Crafts Movement. The movement was based under the philosophy that a “movement” reflected the moral conditions of a society. However the industrial revolution, with its modern mass-production, degraded both the maker and the product.

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