The following lectures were presented during 2019
The following visits were made during 2019
The Victorian era was a dynamic period of innovation, imagination and get-up-and-go, but some Victorians questioned the ‘progress’ that was being made and were fearful for the future of craft skills and thoughtful way of life. This talk reviews the conditions surrounding carpet use and manufacture at that time, including the part played by the Arts and Craft Movement. The subsequent history of the carpet industry is also briefly covered, together with the loss of skills and technologies; and the consequences of inaction for our culture and historic environment.
Mo Mant, MSc Hist Cons, is co-founder of the not-for-profit conservation project The Living Looms Project, which seeks to maintain, through production and training, traditional textile skills and technologies for future generations; to deploy and develop in traditional and innovative ways. Initially weaving replacements for worn or damaged fine historic carpets, the Project aims to rescue threatened looms and support other textile initiatives. Locations for Looms replacement carpets include the National Trust’s Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk and the Hampton Mansion near Baltimore, Maryland, owned by the National Parks Service of America.
The creation of the Birmingham School of Art in 1885, Britain’s first municipal college of art, provided the impetus for the local Arts and Crafts movement. Although Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris did not teach at the school, they were very supportive. Burne-Jones’s windows for St Philips designed between 1885-91 were in effect a gift to the city of his birth. The art school's energetic headmaster, Edward R. Taylor, a devotee of art critic and social thinker John Ruskin, took a personal lead, founding the Ruskin Pottery at Smethick, Staffs in 1898. Former students, Arthur Joseph Gaskin and his wife Georgie Gaskin, began making jewellery in 1899. The Birmingham Guild of Handicraft, formally established in 1895, also provided a hub for local craftsmen.
Anne Anderson is currently Associate Professor at Exeter University, a tutor at the V&A and NADFAS lecturer. Her specialist knowledge is the Aesthetic Movement, Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau and Modernism. Previously, she taught on the Fine Arts Valuation degree at Southampton Solent University.
The Technical Educational Acts of 1889-1891 opened up country-wide adult education and this lecture will concentrate on the opportunities that programmes of craft and art education afforded women at a time when access to other forms of education were costly, difficult or impossible. The revived crafts of the ‘Arts and Crafts Movement’, from calligraphy and vernacular pottery to carving and weaving and dyeing, were supported by technical education and constituted a particularly fruitful avenue for women to gain an education within the arts when more formal channels were barred.
Dr Stephen Knott is a writer, researcher and lecturer in craft theory and history. He is author of Amateur Craft: History and Theory (Bloomsbury, 2015). Stephen was the founder post-doctoral fellow in modern craft at the Crafts Study Centre, Farnham, and is an editor of The Journal of Modern Craft. Currently lecturing in Critical and Historical Studies at Kingston University, he is working on a new book about making and free time.
The Haslemere Peasant Arts Movement represented a unique interpretation of the Arts and Crafts ethos. The Haslemere Educational Museum holds many artefacts of the Movement, and this lecture is based upon the Museum’s forthcoming book ‘Rustic Renaissance’ to be published in November. The Peasant Arts Movement presented an alternative approach to social reform and extended beyond handicraft to create an all-encompassing philosophy that included literature, religion and lifestyle in a backlash against late Victorian industrialization. A distinguishing characteristic was the influence of European peasant life. The works of the Movement in both handicraft and literature of Godfrey Blount and others will be explored.
Catherine Eyre is a public sector accountant who discovered the little known story of the Haslemere Peasant Arts Movement when stumbling across the Victoria and Albert Museum’s peasant tapestry online about 10 years ago; coloured with vibrant vegetable dye it had been made in The Dye House adjacent to her Haslemere home. The resulting detective work, which has been a great community and cultural experience, will be published in Rustic Renaissance!
In the BBC2 series The Victorian House of Arts and Crafts, six modern-day craftspeople were taken back in time to live and experience the ideas and practices of Arts and Crafts visionaries William Morris, John Ruskin and Gertrude Jekyll to examine ideas that working collectively, a pride in the hand-made and a return to nature would enhance the lives of many and create a better society. The artisans breathed life back into an original Arts and Crafts property, the remote Wyndcliffe Court in Monmouthshire. Rod Hughes was one of the participants and will talk about his experience.
Rod Hughes, is a bladesmith and metal worker who specialises in making pieces of history. He works from his forge in Surrey, using charcoal and hand power to create his blades. Despite coming to the profession late he has earned a reputation as a master craftsman of historical reproductions. He also restores Victorian houses to their original state
Pre-Raphaelite Girl Gang introduces you to the remarkable women of the Pre-Raphaelite art movement which began in the second half of the nineteenth century and continued through the early part of the twentieth. Models and artists, these women all contributed something personal and incredible towards the most beautiful and imaginative art movement in the world; each woman has a story to tell and a unique viewpoint on art. Spanning artists, sculptors, inventors, models, wives, sisters and muses, this talk will uncover the stories behind some of the familiar and less familiar women who influenced the movement, including Ellen Terry, Lily Langtry and Mary Watts.
Kirsty Stonell Walker is a biographer, historian and author of Pre-Raphaelite Girl Gang (2018), illustrated by artist Kingsley Nebechi, alongside the wonderful original paintings. Publisher: Unicorn. ISBN: 9781911604631
It was while studying for her first degree that Kirsty Stonell Walker became immersed in the life and loves of the Pre-Raphaelites. The plight of ‘bad girl’ Fanny Cornforth fascinated her so much that she spent a decade researching her life and wrote her biography Stunner: The Fall and Rise of Fanny Cornforth. Since 2011, she has written a blog, The Kissed Mouth, where she publishes original research on the many models of the Pre-Raphaelites. She has also written two novels about Victorian artists as well as giving talks to art groups and museums on her subject.
Tuesday 30th April 2019 10.30am – 2.30pm
The morning will begin at St Peter’s Church in Hascombe. This richly decorated church was rebuilt by the architect, Henry Woodyer, in 1864. It has an unusually complete mid-Victorian scheme of decoration. One of Simon Jenkins’ 1000 best churches, it was described by Sir John Betjeman as “a Tractarian work of art”. This will be explained by the church warden, Colin Swait.
After visiting the church, we will walk round Hascombe in a circular route for about an hour and a half. Part of the walk will be across fields. We will see a number of Arts and Crafts buildings- some associated with Sir Edwin Lutyens and with work undertaken by Underwoods, Lutyens’ favourite builders.
We will finish the morning with lunch at the White Horse at Hascombe before a further half hour walk for those energetic enough to continue!
The walk will be led by a Society member, Sarah Sullivan. Sarah works as a historic buildings and conservation specialist. She is a key member of the Society’s Recording Committee and has lectured to the Society on a number of occasions.
Tuesday 14 May 2019 7:30pm
Following the AGM proceedings: A presentation by Michael Edwards Gertrude Jeykll: Highlights of the Surry Arts and Crafts garden Plans Explaining the conservation project to digitise, catalogue and publish electronically the documents contained in the Gertrude Jekyll Collection housed in the archives at the University of California, Berkeley. ACMS contributed project funding.
Plans for St Catherine’s Village Hall: Sarah Sullivan will outline changes for the timber hall at the centre of the village of St Catherine’s, which has a number of Arts and Crafts buildings associated with well-researched architects and important individuals of the period.
Michael Edwards is an architect well-known for his work on houses designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Sarah Sullivan works as a historic buildings and conservation specialist.
Saturday 8th June 2019 11:00am – 5:00pm
We shall be visiting Emery Walker’s House, at No 7 Hammersmith Terrace, where the Georgian exterior hides a secret – the decoration and furnishings preserved as they were in the lifetime of the printer Emery Walker (1851-1933).
A great friend and mentor to William Morris, Emery Walker was a key member of many organisations that propagated the ideals of the Arts & Crafts Movement including the Art Workers’ Guild, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), the Socialist League and the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society.
The afternoon will be spent at Kelmscott House at 26 Upper Mall, the London home of William Morris from April 1879 to his death in October 1896. Now a privately owned Georgian mansion our Society has a most generous invitation to view some of the private rooms and the private garden with group tours conducted by the knowledgeable owners. This is a unique opportunity for, even specialist interest groups such as ours, rarely have such an invitation.
Kelmscott House is one of the most significant of Morris’s homes. Whilst living at the property he began carpet weaving, wove his first tapestry Acanthus and Vine in his bedroom and continued his innovating approach to design, printing and dyeing techniques. We may visit the William Morris Society Museum to view the Morris collection and a new exhibition in the Coach House: The dear warp and weft at Hammersmith: The History of Kelmscott House Exhibition
Thursday 13th June 2019 10:30am – 5:00pm
The Lutyens Trust is kindly allowing the Society to hold a study day at Goddards during their summer week at the house. Sir Edwin Lutyens designed Goddards in 1898-1900 for Sir Frederick Mirrielees as a place where ‘Ladies of Small Means’ might rest and enjoy the courtyard garden planted by Gertrude Jekyll. Goddards was given to the Lutyens Trust in 1991 and subsequently restored by the Landmark Trust. The Lutyens Trust archive is held in the Study-Library.
The study day will start at Goddards with coffee and an opportunity to explore the house and garden guided by the Secretary of the Lutyens Trust, or to spend some time in the Study-Library. This will be followed by:
Escape to the Country: George Edmund Street at Holmbury St Mary a lecture to be given by Richard Peats, an Inspector of Historic Buildings and Areas for Historic England covering Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. Richard has researched Street’s work on churches within the Diocese of Oxford. He will also act as guide during the afternoon visits.
George Edmund Street (1824-81) is best known as architect of the Law Courts in the Strand. The village of Holmbury St Mary (then called Felday) was the chosen location for the creation of his own home. We will visit the Church of St Mary the Virgin, designed by Street in 1879 in memory of his second wife. The stained glass by Clayton and Bell was also designed by Street.
Following the sunken lanes we will drive on to the village of Peaslake; a gem within the Surrey Hills. Here we shall see the cluster of buildings comprising the Old School Room, The Spottiswoode Memorial Hall and, set into the hillside, St Mark’s Church, built in 1889. The Church was designed by the architect Ewan Christian, a friend of GE Street. We return to Goddards for teatime.
Thursday 1st August 2019 10:30am – 12:30pm
We have the opportunity, by kind permission of the owners, to visit the exterior of Munstead Place, the Grade II listed private house designed by the architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1891-2.
Lutyens’s first significant house commission, Crooksbury House, was only a year before that of Munstead Place. Originally called Munstead Corner, Munstead Place was designed for the wine merchant Charles Heatley and his wife Constance who had inherited seven acres of land from her family’s large estate, south-east of Godalming. The land was situated close to Miss Jekyll’s. Lutyens’s commission arose from her acquaintance with the Heatleys and recommendation of Lutyens to them. (Cole)
Munstead Place was designed in a ‘consciously picturesque manner’ with architectural inspiration from Norman Shaw. ‘Lutyens’s beautifully structured garden design bears Miss Jekyll’s very distinctive hallmarks and it is highly likely that she would have been a party to it. (Cole)
We will commence with tea at the Quadrangle courtesy of the owner. This property was previously the stables, potting sheds and loft for Miss Jekyll’s house at Munstead Wood and has a beautiful garden. The event will finish with a walk to see the exterior of Fir Tree Cottage, also designed by Lutyens.
Sunday 22nd to Thursday 26th September 2019
Our tour in September is to North Cumbria: from Brampton and Naworth down to Keswick. We shall stay four nights at the 4 star Crown Hotel at Wetheral, travelling up on Sunday the 22nd September so as to be ready to start our tour on the Monday morning. Wetheral is five miles east of Carlisle – twelve minutes on the train and the hotel is three minutes from the railway station. Attendees will be able to travel up either by road or rail but the price is exclusive of such costs.
We shall have dinner together on the Sunday night and have arranged an introductory, pre-dinner talk on George Howard, the 9th Earl of Carlisle, who is integral to the background of a number of our visits on the tour.
On Monday morning, we shall visit Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in Carlisle which houses a substantial collection of Arts and Crafts and Pre-Raphaelite works. Here, we have a viewing session organised with Arts and Crafts items from their stores and a talk on their Pre-Raphaelite paintings. Lunch will be followed by a trip to Carlisle Cathedral, and, we hope, a viewing of a private Arts and Crafts venue and finally a visit to the Pugin designed Our Lady and St Wilfrid’s Church at Warwick Bridge. We will then return to the hotel for dinner.
On Tuesday, we travel by coach to Naworth Castle, the local seat of the Howard family, restored by Anthony Salvin after a fire in the 1840s and visited by William Morris et al. We have a tour of the castle focusing on the later 19th century elements and then plan to visit St Martin’s, Brampton designed by Philip Webb and with windows by Edward Burne- Jones. After lunch, we go on to the Priory Church of St Mary Magdalene at Lanercost which also has stained glass by Burne-Jones and a dossal designed by William Morris. Tea follows and we shall then visit the workshops of ACMS member, Nicholas Hobbs. He creates contemporary furniture in the Arts and Crafts tradition and we shall see his work and working methods. Then back for dinner at our hotel.
Our last day together starts early with a coach journey to Keswick Museum. We will view their collection of artefacts made by the Keswick School of Industrial Arts and other items of interest to us. This will be followed by visits to two local churches: one with glorious stained glass designed by Henry Holiday and also by Veronica Whall, the daughter of Christopher Whall and the second, the church of Canon Rawnsley of National Trust fame. This was restored by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1844 and has three Kempe windows. We then go to Hutton-in-the Forest, the home of Lord Inglewood, where we have a guided tour of the house to view, in particular, the four rooms still decorated with early Morris wallpaper and other Arts and Crafts items. Finally, we go to the amazing St Mary’s Church in Wreay designed by Sarah Losh in 1842 and regarded as a precursor of the later Arts and Crafts style, where we have arranged a talk and guided tour. A very full day followed by our last dinner at The Crown. Home on the Thursday morning.
Details of past events
Archive details of past events are available for the following years: