International Arts and Crafts by Karen Livingstone and Linda Parry (ed); Phillip Webb: Pioneer of the Arts & Crafts Architecture by Shelia Kirk; An Anthology of the Arts and Crafts Movement by Mary Greensted - review by Peyton Skipwith

Peyton Skipwith

Furnishing A Utopia

International Arts and Crafts

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V&A Publications 368pp £40 order from our bookshop

Phillip Webb: Pioneer of the Arts & Crafts Architecture

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Wiley- Academy 336pp £29.99 order from our bookshop

An Anthology of the Arts and Crafts Movement

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Lund Humphries 128pp £45 order from our bookshop
 

One of the problems that has dogged the Arts and Crafts Movement is the fact that hand craftwork is, inevitably, more time-consuming, and therefore more expensive, than machine-made work. Commercial firms like Liberty’s, witnessing the popularity of the products of such craft workshops as Ashbee’s Guild of Handicraft, quickly worked out inexpensive methods of hand-finishing machine-made goods, thereby giving them a spurious authenticity and undercutting the craft workshops, eventually putting them out of business. This led to prolonged discussion among the various craftsmen concerning the permissibility of machine usage.

"If machine tools are legitimately used they form an excellent servant, but there must be no imitation ‘handwork’ about them. A genuine labour-saving machine is a perfect godsend if it be properly used, and, in fact, kept in its proper place, though I confess more than a sneaking admiration for the craftsman who deliberately undertakes sawing up planks by hand in order to have a rest from the hard thinking needed for other parts of his work."

Mary Greensted cites this quotation from Robert Weir Schultz’s essay ‘The Influence of Design in Woodwork’ in her Anthology of the Arts & Crafts Movement. Weir Schultz, like many of the founders of the Arts and

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