Introducing Arts and Crafts Furniture

The Arts and Crafts movement developed at the tail end of the Victorian era in response to the emergence of poor-quality manufactured goods. The movement encompassed architecture, design, fine art, and decorative arts such as furniture. With furniture, the goal was to reintroduce the quality craftsmanship displayed by traditional, handcrafted furniture.

Moreover, during the Victorian era, furniture was generally very large and ornate. Designers of Arts and Crafts furniture pushed back against this. They instead introduced rectilinear pieces more simple in design, with quality craftsmanship the focal point of each piece.

Key Figures in the Arts and Crafts Movement

The Arts and Crafts movement was inspired by ideas put forward by designer William Morris, architect Augustus Pugin, and writer John Ruskin. They were leaders in the artistic style that would encapsulate the movement. Inspired by these ideas, the Arts and Crafts Society held its first exhibition in 1888, with key members including Mackmurdo, Ashbee and Voysey. They, in particular, opposed mass production of furniture, favouring handcrafted pieces made from quality materials, such as walnut and oak.

Following this, many renowned furniture makers of the time crafted high-quality Arts and Crafts pieces that have lasted for generations, such as fine chair specialist William Birch and other well-known makers like E W Goodwin and Pugin.

Style of Arts and Crafts Furniture

With quality was at the heart of the Arts and Crafts movement, makers opted for high-quality materials like solid oak and other hardwoods to craft the pieces, owing to their longevity. Moreover, Arts and Crafts pieces are often rectilinear, meaning that they have many straight lines, often with elongated, vertical forms. And, more often than not, Arts and Crafts furniture is also made of stained dark wood. Essentially, the main feature of these pieces is that they reject the complex, cluttered design seen in Victorian furniture, embracing minimal decoration instead.

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