Welcome to RIBApix!
You have no items in your basket.
Close
Filters
Search

Arts & Crafts Style Guide

This was an influential movement of the late 19th century which attempted to re-establish the skills of craftsmanship threatened by mass production and industrialisation. Its main protagonist was the designer-cum-poet, William Morris who was inspired by writings of the art critic John Ruskin, notably his essay on 'The Nature of Gothic' from his book 'The Stones of Venice'. In which he combined praise of the Gothic architecture of northern Europe (including Venice) with a critique of 19th-century society, particularly the monotony of factory production and the deskilling of the individual worker, which destroyed any natural creativity. The solution lay in the medieval past and medieval architecture with its rich variety of ornament, embodying those individual craft skills being lost through the copying of standard forms. Morris sought to put Ruskin’s ideas into practice, by reviving medieval standards and methods of making artefacts, being true to materials, traditional constructional methods and function to the essence of design. In 1861 he set up his company Morris Marshall Faulkner & Co to promote these ideals and produce objects of beauty incorporating the craft skills that had begun to be lost.

Architecture was also to be reformed through traditional building crafts, the use of local materials, and be free of any imposed style. Function, need and simplicity (without spurious ornament) were to inform design, encapsulated in the work of Philip WebbRichard Lethaby and Charles Voysey. Although Morris’s decorative work was rich, intricate and colourful, he preferred plain and unadorned buildings; his favourite was Great Coxwell Barn which he described as "beautiful as a cathedral."

The movement declined in England after 1900 but was influential in Europe, mainly in Germany through the publication of Hermann Muthesius’s 'Das Englische Haus' and the creation of the Deutscher Werkbund (1907). It is also seen in the United States with the work of Frank Lloyd Wright (a founder member of the Chicago Arts and Crafts Society) and Greene & Greene in California.

What to look for in a Arts and Crafts building:

  • Clarity of form and structure
  • Variety of Materials
  • Asymmetry
  • Traditional construction
  • Craftmanship

Explore these galleries from the RIBA Collections illustrating the main features of Arts and Crafts.

View as Grid List
Sort by

Cock Rock, Croyde: the entrance and gate to shore

RIBA15619
Hill, Oliver (1887-1968)

Deanery Garden, Sonning, Berkshire: the Fountain Court

RIBA15694
Lutyens, Sir Edwin Landseer (1869-1944)

Mary Ward Settlement (Passmore Edwards Settlement Buildings), Tavistock Place, London

RIBA16736
Smith & Brewer
SOURCE: Building News, vol. 69, 1895 Aug. 9, after p. 208 NOTES: The Mary Ward Settlement (originally known as the Passmore Edwards Settlement Buildings) was founded in the 1890s by Mary Augusta Ward under the financial patronage of John Passmore Edwards. It aimed to provide facilities to 'improve the the religious, moral, intellectual or physical well-being of the people of London' and was also notable for housing the first fully equipped classrooms for children with disabilities.

Design for a house for Dr Hector Munro, Barkerend Road, Bradford

RIBA20015
Parker, Richard Barry, (1867-1947)

Design for a proposed church

RIBA21172
Lutyens, Sir Edwin Landseer (1869-1944)

Design for a decorative iron door hinge

RIBA22264
Horsley, Gerald Callcott (1862-1917)
NOTES: This image is from a volume of drawings (entitled Vol II) by various designers produced for or presented to the Quarto Imperial Club, London, between 1892 and 1897.

Hvittrask, Kirkkonummi: the main building seen from the English-style gardens

RIBA25958
Gesellius, Herman (1874-1916)
NOTES: This lakeside retreat was built in National Romantic style between 1901 and 1903 by Herman Gesellius, Armas Lindgren and Eliel Saarinen. The complex included a shared studio, homes for each of their families, and several service buildings. The architects arranged their studio and homes around the central garden courtyard. The main building was renovated into a museum in 1969.

Mary Ward Settlement (Passmore Edwards Settlement Buildings), Tavistock Place, London: the entrance facade

RIBA28422
Smith & Brewer
NOTES: The Mary Ward Settlement (originally known as the Passmore Edwards Settlement Buildings) was founded in the 1890s by Mary Augusta Ward under the financial patronage of John Passmore Edwards. It aimed to provide facilities to 'improve the the religious, moral, intellectual or physical well-being of the people of London' and was also notable for housing the first fully equipped classrooms for children with disabilities.

Carthusian Monastery of Santa Maria de la Defension, Jerez: study of tiles with a sketched perspective of the cloisters

RIBA32498
NOTES: This image is from a volume of drawings (entitled Vol I) by various designers produced for or presented to the Quarto Imperial Club, London, between 1889 and 1891.

The Gamble House, Pasadena, California: the main entrance

RIBA33240
Greene & Greene
NOTES: The house, a National Historic Landmark, is owned by the City of Pasadena and operated by the University of Southern California.

All Saints, Brockhampton-by-Ross, Herefordshire: the baptismal font

RIBA48523
Lethaby, William Richard (1857-1931)

Cragside, Rothbury, Northumberland

RIBA81400
Shaw, Richard Norman (1831-1912)
NOTES: Cragside was the enlargement of a shooting lodge of 1864 into a large country house. The alterations took place in stages over the period 1869-1885.

The Tabard, Bath Road, Bedford Park, Turnham Green, London

RIBA102133
Shaw, Richard Norman (1831-1912)
)
CLOSE