The following lectures were presented during 2015
The following visits were made during 2015
This talk explores May Morris’ career in the Arts and Crafts and her legacy, as editor of the Collected Works of William Morris, and as custodian of Kelmscott Manor.
Jan Marsh is current president of the William Morris Society and a trustee of the William Morris Gallery. She is author of Jane and May Morris: A Biographical Story, 1839-1938 and other books on women in the Pre-Raphaelite circle. She has curated exhibitions on Pre-Raphaelite Women Artists, Black Victorians, Jane Morris and is currently preparing an exhibition on Marie Spartali Stillman.
Michael Cardew was one of the most remarkable craftsmen of the 20th century. He was a man of paradox; a modernist who disliked modernity and an intellectual who worked with his hands. He ended his days a ceramic magus, his pottery at Wenford Bridge, Cornwall an outpost of the counterculture and a haven for disaffected youth. In sub-Saharan Africa, and later in Australia, he offered the egalitarianism of craft as an antidote to racism and inequality.
Tanya Harrod is the author of the prize-winning The Crafts in Britain in the Twentieth Century (Yale University Press 1999). Her collected journalism, The Real Thing: making in the modern world, will be published by Hyphen Press in January 2015. She is co- editor of The Journal of Modern Craft. Her most recent book The Last Sane Man: Michael Cardew, modern pots, colonialism and the counterculture (2012) has won the 2013 James Tait Black Prize for biography.
This talk will encompass the life and career of W.A.S. Benson (1854-1924), one of the leading British designers of lighting in the 19th century whose reputation was truly international and whose output was prodigious. Ian will describe the sweep of Benson's innovative work in the fields of lighting and metal ware, furniture design, wallpapers and architecture.
Dr Ian Hamerton is an academic with a passion for the Arts and Crafts Movement, initially as a collector and latterly as an enthusiastic scholar. He was the editor and principal author of W.A.S. Benson: Arts and Crafts Luminary and Pioneer of Modern Design (2005, Antique Collectors' Club) and has lectured extensively on W.A.S. Benson. He has also given lectures and conducted tours at several properties designed by C.F.A. Voysey. Having served on the council of the Arts and Crafts Movement in Surrey, initially as Vice Chair and ultimately as Chairman, Ian stood down to devote more time to his work with the fledgling C.F.A. Voysey Society, as the Honorary President
None of the ‘artistic crafts’ was more profoundly affected by the philosophy of the Arts and Crafts Movement than stained glass. As this lecture will demonstrate, many of the Movement’s leading figures were closely involved in the art, as designers, patrons or technical innovators and, significantly, it was the one field in which women gained real parity alongside their male colleagues. The role of Christopher Whall (1849-1924), who became the most influential figure in early twentieth-century glass will be examined.
Peter Cormack, MBE., FSA is the author of Arts & Crafts Stained Glass (Yale University Press, 2015). He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, former Keeper of the William Morris Gallery, Honorary Curator of Kelmscott Manor and Vice-President and Honorary Fellow of the British Society of Master Glass-Painters.
Late 19th century Russia witnessed a new artistic movement known as the 'neo-national' revival. Bearing similarities to Arts and Crafts and National Romantic movements across Europe, and as a response to increasing industrialisation, it involved the promotion of handicrafts and other initiatives to support rural communities. The talk will discuss the origins of this movement, its principal centres of activity including Abramtsevo and Talashkino, and its international influence.
Dr Louise Hardiman MA (Oxon) MA (London) PhD (Cantab) is an art historian specialising in 19th and early 20th-century Russian art. She recently completed a PhD research project at the University of Cambridge The Firebird's Flight: Russian Arts and Crafts in Britain, 1870-1917, now being revised for publication. She was a consultant to Watts Gallery for the exhibition A Russian Fairy Tale: The Art and Craft of Elena Polenova.
For the Pre-Raphaelites, art and literature were inextricably linked. This bond is best illustrated by the familial creative partnership of Christina and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Christina alluded to her brother’s art in her poetry, and the poet-painter Dante Gabriel not only drew and painted his sister but also illustrated her poetry. This lecture explores the Rossettis’ creative partnership, their relation to Pre-Raphaelitism, and the connection between art and literature through their representations of women in poetry and painting.
Dr Lucy Ella Hawkins completed her PhD in English Literature at the University of Surrey last year. Her interdisciplinary PhD thesis combining English Literature and Art History explores how nineteenth-century women achieved greater socio-political empowerment and freedom through their creative practices and partnerships, focusing on Christina Rossetti, Mary Watts and Evelyn De Morgan. Her PhD studentship was co-funded by Surrey University and Watts Gallery, where she has worked on the Mary Watts archive and was involved in transcribing Mary's diaries for the past three years.
Sunday 7 December 2014 12:30 – 16:30
Following our successful Christmas lunch last year, we return again to Barnett Hill. Set amongst 26 acres of gardens and woodlands in the Surrey Hills area of outstanding natural beauty, Barnett Hill, a country house business and wedding venue run by the Sundial Group, with catering provided by award-winning chefs, is a delightful setting for celebrating the festive season. This year’s event will continue the popular format of an illustrated presentation reviewing the year’s visits and lectures with a preview of events for 2015, as well as a raffle and a display of the 2014 Photographic Competition entries (details for entering the competition will be circulated later this year).
Barnett Hill is Grade II* listed and was built, circa 1905, in Carolean style by Arnold Mitchell for Frank Cook the grandson of Thomas Cook, the travel agent. It is a fine and elegant building with a barrel-vaulted corridor and staircase modelled on Ashburnham house. Mitchell later built the Thomas Cook head office in Berkeley Street.
Tuesday 21 April 2015 10:45 – 15:00
The Society last visited Undershaw in 2006 and we now have another opportunity, by kind permission of the owner, to see the principal portion of this property and its garden. Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott’s prolific career included three houses on the south side of Guildford. He was dedicated to the design of housing for ordinary people, with an emphasis on craftsmanship and use of local materials. He had a gift for interior design and a love of gardens. Undershaw was built around 1910 and was designed on four levels in order to take advantage of the sloping site. The house is constructed of local materials and is entered by a dramatic pergola. The Tudor style oak panelled hall includes a gallery. Architect and ACMS Main Committee member, Merilyn Spier, who was involved in the writing of M.H. Baillie Scott – The Surrey Contribution – Work of an Arts and Crafts Architect, will join us to talk about Baillie Scott’s work.
We will lunch at The Three Pigeons on the High Street. This pub has been here since the middle of the eighteenth century until it was badly fire damaged in 1916. Its new front elevation by T.R. Clements, was inspired by a late seventeenth century house on Oxford’s High Street and its plaster ceilings are in the Arts and Crafts style.
In the afternoon, we shall view the Arts and Crafts artefacts of Holy Trinity Church, which include a bronze St Michael sculpted by Edith Farmiloe for her brother, who was killed in 1915. Our guide will be Churchwarden Mary Alexander who worked for many years at Guildford Museum and now writes on Guildford history.
This will be followed by a visit to see the collection at Guildford Institute Library which was started in 1834 and has been on its present site since 1892. Pam Keen, a librarian who had previously worked at Liverpool Athenaeum, has re-organised and is cataloguing the extensive collection of local history sources. This includes copies of ‘The Studio’ magazine and hidden treasures such as the 1905 sales particulars for Tangley Manor (Philip Webb extension and Jekyll garden).
Wednesday 6 May 2015 10:30 – 16:30
Charleston, the country home of the Bloomsbury Group, is a unique example of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant’s decorative style within a domestic context and represents the fruition of over sixty years of artistic creativity. The rooms on show illustrate a complete range of the decorative art of the Bloomsbury artists inspired by Italian fresco painting and the Post Impressionists: murals, painted furniture, ceramics, objects from the Omega Workshops, paintings and textiles. The walled garden was redesigned in a style reminiscent of Southern Europe with mosaics, box hedges, gravel pathways, ponds and statuary.
After coffee on arrival we will enjoy a private guided tour of the house followed by a talk entitled ‘Bloomsbury and Sussex’ by the Curator Dr Darren Clarke, who will explore the group’s relationship with the Sussex countryside.
We shall then drive the short distance to the village of Berwick where lunch will be served at The Cricketer’s Arms.
After lunch we will have a guided tour of Berwick Church. The church is a Grade 1 listed building and is most well-known for the extensive 20th Century murals, which cover the nave walls, chancel arch, screen and pulpit. Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell and Quentin Bell painted these during the Second World War as part of a project, initiated by Bishop Bell of Chichester, to revive the tradition of decorating the interior of churches with paintings to create an environment with its own particular feeling and aesthetic.
Thursday 11 - Sunday 14 June 2015
Following the Society's successful residential visits to Glasgow, Liverpool and Cambridge, we are planning a visit to Essex to see a number of churches and houses of Arts and Crafts interest and further our understanding of the Garden Suburbs and early town planning.
On Thursday, we begin by visiting Waltham Abbey where we will have a guided tour. William Burgess carried out major restoration work, a new east end and restoration of the Lady Chapel. The stained glass includes examples by Burne Jones and Henry Halliday.
Then on to Gidea Park for a guided walk. By 1911 the Romford Garden Suburb contained 159 houses and cottages, mostly in the vernacular style, which had been built for an exhibition to find the best designs for under £500. They were designed by more than 100 architects, including Parker and Unwin, Baillie Scott and Clough Williams-Ellis.
Overnight we shall stay at De Rougemont Manor, Warley, Essex a 4 star country house hotel. Here, Ralph Nevill had made alterations and additions in 1884-1900, including estate buildings. On Friday, we will start at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Great Warley. The church and lychgate were designed by Charles Harrison Townsend in 1902-4 and the glorious interior was mostly designed by the sculptor William Reynolds-Stephens. “One of the most exciting Arts and Crafts interiors in England. A wondrous church” enthuses Simon Jenkins – England’s Thousand Best Churches. We then plan to walk aroung the Great Warley Conservation Area before going on to the Church of Peter and St Paul at Horndon-on-the-Hill, a Grade I Early English church with a harmonious Arts and Crafts interior and church furnishing by CR Ashbee and WD Caroe.
We shall stay for the next two nights at Lifehouse Hotel, Thorpe le Soken with a contemporary award-winning spa set in the peaceful surroundings of English Heritage Listed Thorpe Hall Gardens. A pre-dinner talk will be given by John Barter of the Frinton & Walton Heritage Trust. The Trust is hosting our visit to Frinton-on-Sea and we are most grateful for their efforts on behalf of our Society. The planning and development of Frinton-on-Sea is an interesting story and, bounded by its golf course and greensward overlooking the sea, its reputation survives as being genteel and exclusive.
On Saturday, our third day, we drive into Frinton for an Architectural walk of the Edwardian Avenues and a kind invitation from the owner to view The Homestead (1905-6) by CFA Voysey who also designed the interior fittings for his client SC Turner. We shall next see St. Mary Magdalene, by architect Sir Charles Nicholson. Continuing our tour of the town, Arts and Crafts buildings by local architect, William Hayne, J.P. (1867-1941) will be highlighted, including interiors of some of the properties. There will be an opportunity to look at the interior of St. Mary’s Church, Frinton’s first church (Saxon) restored 1929 with its Morris & Co. window designed by Burne-Jones. We finish the day at the Trust’s headquarters with an opportunity to view the small museums and the Trust’s architectural archives.
On Sunday morning, there is a choice: a trip on James Stevens No.14, the oldest motorised lifeboat in the world (built in 1899/1900) and restored 2009 by the Frinton and Walton Heritage Trust. Moored in Walton-on-the-Naze, the boat is now a working artefact of Walton Maritime Museum, (she took part in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant) and will take us out to the local backwaters where seals and other wildlife may be seen. The tides will allow for two sailings – 9:00 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Each trip can take a maximum of 12 passengers so depending on how many book for the Essex tour we may not have places for all on the lifeboat – therefore it's first come, first served! The alternative option, and by no means second best, is to see The Naze Tower at Walton-on-the-Naze. Originally built by Trinity House in 1720, it has been restored and houses, over eight floors, an art gallery, an exhibition of the history of the Tower and offers magnificent views from the viewing platform on the roof.
The tour will conclude with an Architectural Walk of Frinton Park Estate including visits to houses, some designed by architect Oliver Hill. Planned in 1934, the Estate displays a collection of modernist houses, a number by major architects and is the best example of a modernist estate concept surviving in Britain.
Wednesday 15 July 2015 11:00 – 16:30
We travel to Haslemere and its Peasant Arts past. The genesis of the Peasant Art Society began in 1894 when Josephand Maude King, moved to Upper Birtley near Haslemere from London’s Hampstead. Whilst Joseph practised at the Bar, Maude founded the Wheel & Spindle Guild in 1894 at their then home, later in 1897 to be known as the Haslemere Weaving Industry. Followed to the area by Godfrey Blount and his wife (who was the sister of Maude), and by Joseph King’s cousin Greville MacDonald, they practised the rejection of mass consumer products in the Arts and Crafts tradition.
By 1899 there were eleven looms in operation at the weaving shed in what is now Kings Road, with spinning and tapestry taught alongside. Their vision was not to make money but to teach skills to the local community For further details go to peasant-arts.blogspot.co.uk – you will not be disappointed – and we have the writer to guide us on our tour.
We start the day however at nearby St Christopher’s Church, designed by Charles Spooner and opened in 1903 with a painted altar triptych by Minnie Dibdin-Spooner which was exhibited at the 1912 Arts and Crafts exhibition, lettering by Eric Gill and glass by Martin Travers. Charles Spooner Arts and Crafts Architect by Alec Hamilton, Published Shaun Tyas 2012 is an extensively researched and beautifully illustrated book about this architect whose work certainly deserves to be better known.
We will then proceed on a walking tour of the area around Kings Road (formerly Foundry Meadow) where the industry was centred and make a trip to Haslemere Museum which will display for us artefacts from their stores that formed part of the founding museum collection of Peasant Art.
In the afternoon we pass the museum going out of town to Kingwood Hall, formerly Sandhouse, built for Joseph and Maude King by F W (Frank) Troup around the turn of the century. The home of a Society member, we will have the opportunity to visit the house again (we last visited as a Society in 2003) and finish the day with tea there.
Wednesday 5 August 2015 11:00 – 17:00
Arts and Crafts architect Leonard Martin lived in Church Street, Cobham from 1897 to 1917 and produced many elaborately modeled buildings in the West End, notably New Bond Street and Jermyn Street. He also influenced the appearance of a number of properties around his home, restoring ‘Church Stile House’ and extensive additions to ‘Pyports’. He also designed schools and a church in Cobham, sometimes in partnership with Henry Treadwell.
We begin by visiting St Mary’s Church, Stoke d’Abernon, an Anglo Saxon church restored in Victorian times and visited by William Morris, it has interesting stained glass and some of the best brasses in existence. Our guide for the day will be Dr David Taylor a noted historian of the area. We will then move to Woodland Park House, now a hotel, designed by Rowland Plumbe in 1885 for Mr F C Bryant, the son of the founder of the match company, Bryant & May. Commissioned “with a free hand, unfettered in the slightest degree by economical considerations” to design a mansion in the Gothic Style. Here we will also have lunch.
After lunch we will see Philip Webb’s second studio-house, Sandroyd (now Benfleet Hall) for the artist John Spencer Stanhope, a pupil of G F Watts (partly built before the Red House was finished). It became a school for boys, then girls, and after a period of neglect was subdivided into flats; externally now almost as Webb left it. We then visit New Sandroyd School (now Reeds School) designed by Messrs Treadwell & Martin as a boys boarding school, fully equipped in every way for its purpose; many fine features are still to be seen. We then see St Matthew’s School, built in 1901 as a girls school by Treadwell & Martin in an Art Nouveau style.
Moving to Cobham we will first visit St Andrew’s Church originally Norman, but after successive restorations now largely a Victorian building; it includes some Burne-Jones stained glass. David Taylor will then lead a short walking tour of the key buildings in the centre of Cobham including Overbye and Pyports, home to the Lushingtons, before finishing at Church Stile House where, courtesy of the owners, we will have tea.
Wednesday 16 September 2015 10:30 – 15:30
Standen lies in a beautiful Sussex landscape overlooking the countryside. It was built for London solicitor James Beale and his wife Margaret as a country retreat between 1892 and 1894.The house, designed by Philip Webb, is one of the finest examples of Arts and Crafts workmanship in existence, with superlative interiors by Morris & Co.
The hillside garden of twelve acres is the focus of a major restoration and conservation project to reinstate the splendour of the original Arts and Crafts inspired garden created by Margaret Beale. Our visit starts with coffee and biscuits followed by an Introductory Talk. We then enter the house on a timed ticket free flow basis. There will be an opportunity to visit a special exhibition celebrating the 100th anniversary of the death of Philip Webb.
After lunch at you own expense in the restaurant, which offers a wide choice of food, we will have an hour long guided tour of all areas of the garden to gain an overview of its history, planting and the restoration work.
Wednesday 16 September 2015 10:30 – 15:30
This event provides the opportunity to visit two venues in the East End of London which, during the late 19th and early 20th Century, performed an important role in the improvement of learning and social well being for the area.
We meet for coffee at the Whitechapel Art Gallery before having a guided tour led by Gary Haines. After lunch in the Gallery restaurant we walk to the Bishopsgate Institute where we will have a guided tour led by Stefan Dickers. Both buildings were designed by the Arts and Crafts architect Charles Harrison Townsend (1851-1928). Society member Sarah Sullivan, who has been researching the architect and his work will accompany us for the day.
The Whitechapel Gallery was founded by Henrietta and Samuel Barnett both important and influential figures in responding to the social needs of late 19th century London. The Gallery, built in 1901/2 and listed Grade II*, is considered to be the most progressive or modern of Townsend’s major public commissions. The Bishopsgate Institute was founded as an independent adult education institution, lecture and concert hall with a library for those who live and work in the city. It has been a hub for culture and learning since its opening on New Year’s Day 1895. The Grade II* listed building combines elements of the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau styles, but with influences of Townsend’s interest in Romanesque and Byzantine.
En route to the Bishopsgate Institute we will take a look at Toynbee Hall. Toynbee Hall, anticipated to be under major renovation at the time of our visit, was founded by Henrietta and Samuel Barnett as a University settlement. In 1888, C R Ashbee set up nearby his Guild and School of Handicrafts.
Details of past events
Archive details of past events are available for the following years:
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