Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Arts and Crafts Movement

It should come as no shock to anyone that I love the Pre-Raphaelites. And by extension, I adore the interior decorating style that emerged from their work. I would strongly argue that not only are the Pre-Raphaelites the predecessors of our modern fantasy and mythic arts enthusiasts (they painting romantic tales, myths, and ballads, William Morris' books were cited as inspiration to J.R.R. Tolkien in the creation of his works), but the decorating style that emerged from their work, specifically William Morris' work, is the Victorian precedent for those of us who want to add magic and myth to our lives in modern times.

I definitely see William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones, William and Evelyn de Morgan, etc. as the late Victorian equivalents of our modern Charles Vess, Charles de Lint, Terri Windling, and so on. And so by exploring the Arts & Crafts decorating style begun in large part by Morris' firm of Morris & Co., we open a portal to the lovers of myth from a different generation.

I've been doing a series of posts on different decorating styles that "jive" well with the additions of Domythic details. "Domythic" really is a decorating style that can cross traditional decorating motifs and themes, as long as the underlying feel of the room is romantic and narrative. But there are some styles that just seem to blend effortlessly. And of course I chose to save my favorite, and the one I feel blends the best, for last.
Arts and Crafts decorating is not entirely reliant on the patterns William Morris created for the textiles and wallpapers of his company, but boy do they ever enhance a space.

Source for all above images

The Green Dining Room designed by Morris for the V&A

Any object can be a canvas in Arts and Crafts decorating.

And personal touches abound. Here is a window at Red House (William Morris' home for a short time) decorated with his personal motto, "Si Je Puis" (If I can)

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Did I mention every space is a canvas? Another area of Red House.

Rich woodwork is a hallmark of Bungalow style, a type of Arts and Crafts home.
Image source

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For more information, I highly recommend these books.

William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Home is an absolutely wonderful book. I know I've mentioned this one before, but it bears repeating.

Bungalow: The Ultimate Arts and Crafts Home

The Beautiful Necessity - the book that was the name source for my blog on the Pre-Raphaelites


  1. A lovely choice of Morris' work for the Company. I always felt for the way he was torn, wanting a world that followed strong principles and yet knowing ordinary people would never be able to afford his works.

    Have you read News from Nowhere?

  2. Just found your blog, and am eating it up...

  3. Charlotte, I also empathized with Morris' frustrations over wanting to provide art for lower classes. I've read portions of News from Nowhere, but have not finished it yet!

    Lois, eat away! Just make sure you avoid the gingerbread cottage. :)