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Arts and Crafts Period Interior Design and Home Decorating: Names to Know

Author:

Chazz is an Interior Decorator/Consultant/Retailer, amateur photographer, cook, gardener, handyman, currently restoring an 1880 Victorian.

Detail from a piece entitled Arts and Crafts Tree I.

Detail from a piece entitled Arts and Crafts Tree I.

Arts & Crafts/Craftsman Design: Names You Should Know

This page will introduce you to some of the leading members of the Arts and Crafts movement in England and the United States. It is a "Who's Who" of sorts but with more information, lots of pictures, resources, links, and even videos to introduce you to the beginnings of modernism in the late 19th through early 20th centuries.

For additional information, See Part 1 of The Arts & Crafts Movement: More than an Architectural and Interior Design Style.

William Morris Sir Edward Burne-Jones and Their Families, 1874.

William Morris Sir Edward Burne-Jones and Their Families, 1874.

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Photo Portrait of William Morris, founder of the Arts & Crafts movement

Photo Portrait of William Morris, founder of the Arts & Crafts movement


"There is no excuse for doing anything which is not strikingly beautiful."


~ William Morris

William Morris

William Morris (1834-1896) was a forerunner of the Arts & Crafts movement, which organically grew out of his late Victorian Art Nouveau and Gothic style designs.

Morris was a prolific English textile designer, artist, writer, illustrator, medievalist and socialist.

He founded a design firm in partnership with the Pre-Raphaelite artists Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the architect Philip Webb.

Along with the Kelmscott Press, which he began in 1891, Morris & Co. produced books, textiles, wallpapers, and other items.

More About William Morris and the Arts & Crafts Movement

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Portrait of John Ruskin

Portrait of John Ruskin

"The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color

the most."

~ John Ruskin

John Ruskin

John Ruskin (1819-1900) was a philosopher, artist and a critic of art and design, writer, lecturer, philantropist, preservationist, traveler and teacher with interests ranging from architecture and botany to geology and utopianism.

Ruskin was one of the leading proponents of the Gothic Revival style, promoting a "Protestant" Gothic style that countered Pugin's Roman Catholic influenced designs. He was admired by William Morris, the Pre-Raphaelites (many of whom he supported financially), and the Arts & Crafts/Craftsman movement.


Ruskin's scope was global and his prolific writings were influential around the world. His work was translated and written about by Proust, Tolstoy, and Gandhi, among many other notable literary and historic figures.

In Japan, Ryuzo Mikimoto (of the Mikimoto Pearl enterprise) commissioned sculptures and other items of Ruskin and his works, incorporated his designs into his jewelry line, established the Ruskin Society of Tokyo and built a library to house his Ruskin collection. Ruskin is definitely worth reading and learning more about. In 2019 the bicentennial of his birth will be celebrated.

For More About John Ruskin

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There are elements of intrinsic beauty in the simplification of a house built on the log cabin idea.

— Gustav Stickley

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Gustav Stickley

Gustav Stickley (1858 - 1942) was inspired by John Ruskin, William Morris and his company during a trip to Europe in 1895. He soon developed their aesthetic into a distinctly American utilitarian style that bears his name. Stickley pieces are usually made of quarter sawn oak and have strong rectilinear lines.

His Craftsman style furniture ranged from slatted "Mission" style seating and desks to simple bedframes with long tapered bedposts. Stickley furniture was often constructed using mortise-and-tenon joinery and hammered-metal hardware. Upholstered pieces were finished in natural, simple materials ranging from leather to sturdy hand-printed woven fabrics.

From 1901 to 1916, he also published a design magazine The Craftsman with New York's Syracuse University professor Irene Sargent as editor. The magazine's coverage included homes and home crafts, literature and music, architecture, city planning, social conditions and progressive political issues. He was a staunch conservationish and advocate for women's rights and the fair treatment of employees. Although not a socialist, Stickley seems to have promoted a lot of the same concepts and causes that the socialists supported.

Stickley furniture catalog pages.

Stickley furniture catalog pages.

Beginning in 1904, the Craftsman featured a house plan based on the Arts & Crafts aesthetic. These houses usually featured overhanging eaves, porches, open floor plans, large groupings of casement windows, and the liberal use of natural materials including stone and wood. They were meant to be "organic" in the sense that they were designed to appear to be growing out of and integral to the surrounding landscape.

The Craftsman style of architecture became enormously popular in the earlier 20th century. It gave Americans with modest means access to high-quality design for the first time and had a strong influence on the design of lower-income Sears "kit" houses.

In the interior of Craftsman homes, like the exterior, form followed function and beauty was utilitarian. Large rustic fireplaces built of stone were often flanked by built in bookcases and small stained glass windows. Simple decorative wood wall panels (dado height or taller on walls), low-relief box-beamed panelled wood ceilings, and built in cabinets, benches and bookcases made for eminently livable as well as attractive homes. Lighting followed the same aesthetic, with decorative metals and shades made of colored glass or mica.

Shop for Antique Stickley and Stickley Style Furnishings for Period Décor - And Find The Perfect Piece for Your Home

Note that Stickley Furniture is often referred to as "Mission" style but it is not the same thing. Mission style, to be accurate, refers to the regional variation of the Arts & Crafts movement that was influenced by the Spanish style missions in the west.

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Roycroft - and Elbert Hubbard

A Roycroft Arts and Crafts Interior in Aurora, NY. From a vintage postcard.

A Roycroft Arts and Crafts Interior in Aurora, NY. From a vintage postcard.

An advertisement for wood chairs with Spanish leather seats made by the Roycrofters. The price is listed as $20.00 each or $35.00 for the pair in oak. Mahogany cost $24.00 each and $42.00 for the pair.

An advertisement for wood chairs with Spanish leather seats made by the Roycrofters. The price is listed as $20.00 each or $35.00 for the pair in oak. Mahogany cost $24.00 each and $42.00 for the pair.


"Art is the expression of man’s joy in his work."

~ Elbert Hubbard


Roycroft, founded by Elbert Hubbard, was a community of a community of printers, furniture makers, metalsmiths, leathersmiths, bookbinders, and similar artists and craftsmen. Roycraft, a part of the Arts and Crafts movement, was founded by Hubbard in 1895 in East Aurora, New York.

The name "Roycroft" was chosen by Hubbard because it meant "KIng's Craft." In the medieval European guilds, king's craftsmen were guild members who, by virtue of their excellence, were chosen to make items for the King.

The Roycroft insignia was borrowed from Cassidorius, a 13th century monk who was a master bookbinder and illuminator. It adorned Roycroft products ranging from furniture to pottery and metalware.

The Roycrofters, as they were known, had a strong influence on the development of American design and architecture in the early 20th century. The community attracted over 500 members at its peak, but declined rapidly when Hubbard and his wife, the suffragette Alice Moore Hubbard, died in 1915 when the RMS Lusitania sank. Today the 14 buliding Roycroft campus is on the National Trust of Historic Places and houses a museum and research center.

A Virtual Tour of Roycroft

arts-and-crafts-period-interior-design-and-home-decorating-names-to-know

We want a vernacular in art.

No mere verbal or formal agreement, or dead level of uniformity but that comprehensive and harmonizing unity with individual variety which can be developed among people politically and socially free.

— Walter Crane

Walter Crane

Walter Crane

Walter Crane


Walter Crane (1845-1915) was an artist, illustrator, and designer. His work ranged from illustrations for children's books and weekly cartoons for three Socialist publications to wallpapers, textiles, and home decorating items.

Like William Morris, Crane's goal was to bring art into the daily life of all classes. He was a calligrapher, painter, engraver, and an expert craftsman in plaster relief, ceramic tiles, stained glass, and pottery,

Crane founded The Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society in 1888. He illustrated posters and pamphlets for socialist causes and for the Healthy and Artistic Dress Union, a movement begun in 1890, that sought to promote loose-fitting utilitarian clothing instead of the heavy, stiff, and tight garments of the corseted Victorian era. One brochure he illustrated was entitled How to Dress Without a Corset.

Walter Crane Fairy Tale Illustrations for The Frog Prince and Jack and the Beanstalk.

Walter Crane Fairy Tale Illustrations for The Frog Prince and Jack and the Beanstalk.

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"There is hope in honest error. None in the icy perfections of the mere stylist."


~ Charles Rennie Mackintosh


Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) was a Scottish architect, artist, and designer. Japanese design and Art Nouveau were two of his major influences.

Although today he is considered part of the Arts & Crafts movement, his work was not that popular during his lifetime and many of his designs were never brought to fruition. In the decades since his death, Mackintosh designs have grown in popularity,

More About Charles Rennie Mackintosh - And the Glasgow School of Design

High-Back Oak Chair by Charles Rennie Mackintos circa 1898.

High-Back Oak Chair by Charles Rennie Mackintos circa 1898.

arts-and-crafts-period-interior-design-and-home-decorating-names-to-know
Philip Speakman Webb

Philip Speakman Webb

Philip Webb

Philip Webb (1831-1915) was an English architect who was a partner with William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti in Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. (later known as Morris & Co.). Webb co-founded (with Morris) the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. He was also the treasurer for Morris's revolutionary Socialist League.

Webb, like Morris, was considered one of the father's of the Arts & Crafts movement.

William Morris's Red house was designed by Philip Webb in 1859.

William Morris's Red house was designed by Philip Webb in 1859.

Philip's Webb's plans for the Red House, Bexley Heath, designed for William Morris.

Philip's Webb's plans for the Red House, Bexley Heath, designed for William Morris.

For More About Philip Webb


Less is only more where more is no good.


~ Frank Lloyd Wright


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Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1949) is often identified with the Arts and Crafts movement. He was a leader of the Prairie School of architecture and design, which was a mid-western strongly related to Craftsman style.

The two "schools" shared an interest in hand crafting and skills in reaction to the mass production of the industrial age. They also shared the view that buildings should look like they grew naturally from the site they were built on.

The Prairie School was the result of a conscious attempt to develop an indigenous American style of architecture that did not borrow heavily from earlier European classical architecture. Wright felt that strong horizontal lines were distinctly American because the U.S. had an abundance of open, undeveloped land as opposed to more urbanized European nations.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water House

Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water House

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The Background and History of Art Nouveau
Many people have heard of the term Art Nouveau and have at least a general sense of the style--flowing, ornate, organic--but no knowledge of its origins, the...

We're Glad You Stopped By!

arts-and-crafts-period-interior-design-and-home-decorating-names-to-know

© 2011 Chazz

We'd Like to Know Your Name Too!

anonymous on November 29, 2012:

thank you for such informative, artistically & culturally broadening lenses.

Bob Zau on September 17, 2012:

This is a very informative lens. You have quadrupled my knowledge of the Arts And Crafts Period.

Chazz (author) from New York on September 11, 2012:

@SheilaMilne: Thank you. I am honored that you mentioned my lenses on such a beautiful page.

SheilaMilne from Kent, UK on September 11, 2012:

I've added both this and the first part of your Arts and Crafts lenses to my Salutation Gardens lens. The house was designed by Lutyens who at least started off in the Arts and Crafts movement though he moved in other directions later.

LoriBeninger on August 28, 2012:

My favorite design style...beautifully informative lens. Thank you.

PippiDust on April 27, 2012:

Great to know, very interesting.

BestLaminateInc1 on April 20, 2012:

I'm in love with the Stickley furniture. Thanks for sharing!

ContentbyCasey LM on March 28, 2012:

Very interesting stuff!

mariastewart lm on March 08, 2012:

Very beautiful artwork here the furniture is my favorite!

gypsykitschpres on February 20, 2012:

Love this lens. Frank Lloyd Wright is my favorite designer.

anonymous on December 31, 2011:

I'm glad I stopped by Part Two. Thanks for another interesting and informative lens!

sarahrk lm on December 01, 2011:

Art is so interesting and I like decorating around it.

sherioz on November 17, 2011:

Fascinating to learn about the people behind the names. Thanks.

RocklawnArts on November 15, 2011:

Love the furniture designs!

viscri8 on November 12, 2011:

Blessed and liked very much!

viscri8 on November 12, 2011:

It was a great period for the decorative arts -- coming closer to the fine arts -- making a stand and a mark that the history of art could not ignore.

traveller27 on October 12, 2011:

Very interesting - nice lens!

Heather Burns from Wexford, Ireland on October 10, 2011:

Love Arts and Crafts designs for décor but it's funny I don't love the furniture of the era. Do love the fashions and the jewelry and all the art of the era, especially the stained glass. Love the architecture too!

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