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Interior Design History: Victorianism and Arts and Crafts
Interior Design History: Twentieth-Century Number One: Victorianism & Arts and Crafts
<ul><li>The Industrial Revolution generated a totally new social structure in America and Europe. The forces of industrialization and urbanization dictated a new way of life for the population as a whole. This lithograph by Currier & Ives depicts four of the major inventions of the nineteenth century: the lightning steam press, the electric telegraph, the locomotive, and the steamboat, all of which were developed during the Industrial Revolution. </li></ul>
<ul><li>By the mid-nineteenth century, Britain led the world in terms of trade and enjoyed great prosperity. The foundation of a capitalist economy spawned a thriving middle class anxious to express its new found prosperity in terms of visual culture. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Items of household decoration such as wallpaper, textiles, and carpets were now being massed produced and purchased for the first time by a bourgeoisie who emulated their social superiors with the furnishings of a formal drawing room. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The Great Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations, better known as the Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1851, was devised and organized by Queen Victoria's German husband Prince Albert to publicize Great Britain's military, industrial and economic superiority at that time. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The formal drawing room was used to receive visitors, and usually had heavy curtains and thick lace at the windows, a patterned carpet, generously upholstered seating, and a huge range of ornaments pictures and surface decoration. This New York City drawing room of 1870 was designed for a man named A. T Stewart and is considered “high Victorian.” As historians noted in 1903, “The location, the character of the design, the choice of the material, everything about the house, inside and out, showed that the old Irish merchant wanted to make a grand impression; and he undoubtedly succeeded in doing so upon his contemporaries." </li></ul>
<ul><li>Bedroom, A. T. Stewart residence, 1870 </li></ul>
<ul><li>Entrance Hall, A. T. Stewart residence, 1870 </li></ul>
<ul><li>Furniture could be bought from the new department stores or in America by mail order, Furniture companies used rich fabrics with added details like buttoning, tufting, pleating, and fringing to create sumptuous effect. The chairs used internal springing, popularized in France to provide a visual, rather than merely physical effect of comfort. The springs returned the seat to the desired smooth shape after use. </li></ul>
<ul><li>However all pervasive the Victorian middle class desire to express comfort and wealth, the aesthetic standard of the interior disturbed contemporary critics, and a large body of writing appeared during the nineteenth century to give advice on taste and interior design. Writers such as A. W. N. Pugin (1812-1852) onwards equated what they regarded as ‘good design”with high moral standards </li></ul>Writer, designer, and artist A. W. N. Pugin (1812-1852)
<ul><li>Pugin led a campaign for the Gothic style. For him, Gothic was an expression of a just and Christian society in contrast to nineteenth-century industrial society and its social ills. </li></ul>The epitome of Gothic architecture: Chartres Cathedral, France, 1194.
<ul><li>The Victorian Gothic revival was mainly inspired by Pugin and his interiors for the new House of Parliament building (1840 -1852) designed by Sir Charles Barry. The style continued in use into the twentieth century, feeding the Arts and Crafts movement. </li></ul>The epitome of Gothic architecture: Chartres Cathedral, France, 1194.
Cardiff Castle in Wales, designed by William Burges and completed in 1881 is another fine example of Victorian Gothic architecture.
The summer and winter smoking rooms at Cardiff Castle
<ul><li>Tom Jones at Cardiff Castle </li></ul>The summer and winter smoking rooms at Cardiff Castle
<ul><li>Pugin’s work was also an inspiration to the leading writer on art and design in Britain, John Ruskin, who influenced taste in interior design through his writings on art in The Times newspaper and his books, such as The Seven Lamps of Architecture and The Stones of Venice. Like Pugin, he saw the ugliness which surrounded him as the unavoidable result of the misery brought on by the Industrial Revolution and took issue with the ostentatious symbolism of wealth characterized by Victorian fashion. </li></ul>A Gothic arch watercolor by Ruskin
<ul><li>Ruskin rejected mass-produced furniture and furnishings he advocated the design of the past. Like Pugin, good taste and good morals were inseparable for Ruskin. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Among the writers, artists, and designers influenced by Ruskin was the socialist, designer, and founder of the Arts and Crafts Movement, William Morris. Like Ruskin, Morris detested the mass produced household goods of the day. He believed the production of furniture and furnishings was a valid enterprise for the architect and the fine artist. In later years he declared the Arts and Crafts Movement should, “Turn our artists into craftsmen and our craftsmen into artists!” Although an avowed Marxist, William Morris was a savvy entrepreneur. In 1861 he founded the design firm that eventually became simply Morris & Co. Morris & Co. continued to be successful as a noted brand of for years after its namesake’s death in 1896. </li></ul>A Gothic arch watercolor by Ruskin
<ul><li>Morris’s ideas and inspiration for marketing interior design and the production of furniture and furnishings were born out of the design, building, and decoration of his house, the Red House at Bexley-Heath, Kent, in 1859-1860. The house was designed by Morris’s friend Phillip Webb and hand decorated by not only Morris, but his artist friends such as Edward Burne-Jones and the Pre-Raphaelite Dante Gabriel Rosetti. </li></ul>A Gothic arch watercolor by Ruskin
<ul><li>Dante Gabriel Rosetti, </li></ul><ul><li>Beata Beatrix (1863) and The Daydream (1880) </li></ul>Two Red House interiors
<ul><li>It was through the influence of Ruskin and Morris that furnishing an interior with newly acquired antiques became fashionable for the first time. The Sussex Chair attributed to Rossetti and produced by Morris & Co. was a recreation pf an earlier vernacular model. </li></ul>Two Red House interiors
<ul><li>Frontispiece for William Morris’s Kelmscott Press edition of the writings of John Ruskin, c.1891. </li></ul>Two examples of Morris & Co. fabric
<ul><li>Greene and Greene put an American spin on British Arts and Crafts with the Gamble House (1908) of Pasadena, CA with the inclusion of verandas and courtyards. </li></ul>Two examples of Morris & Co. fabric
<ul><li>Greene and Greene, dining room, Gamble House, 1908 </li></ul>Two examples of Morris & Co. fabric Greene and Greene, dining room, Gamble House, 1908
Greene and Greene, first floor Interior, Gamble House, 1908 Two examples of Morris & Co. fabric Greene and Greene, first floor Interior, Gamble House, 1908
<ul><li>Greene and Greene, Interior stairs, Gamble House, 1908 </li></ul>Two examples of Morris & Co. fabric
<ul><li>Greene and Greene, Gamble House, 1908, Pasadena, CA </li></ul>Back to the Future