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Oscar Lovell Triggs

The Arts & Crafts Movement

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” This quote alone from William Morris could summarise the ideology of the Arts & Crafts movement, which triggered a veritable reform in the applied arts in England. Founded by John Ruskin, then put into practice by William Morris, the Arts & Crafts movement promoted revolutionary ideas in Victorian England. In the middle of the “soulless” Industrial Era, when objects were standardised, the Arts & Crafts movement proposed a return to the aesthetic at the core of production. The work of artisans and meticulous design thus became the heart of this new ideology, which influenced styles throughout the world, translating the essential ideas of Arts & Crafts into design, architecture and painting.
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Parkstone International
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    After the Guild was forced to cease all activities in 1919, Ashbee’s career came to a turning point. It was then that he was appointed Civic Adviser to the city of Jerusalem. He was in charge of rebuilding the city and protecting the ancient buildings and historical monuments. His extensive knowledge in urbanism and his love for the preservation of ancient buildings were particularly useful for this task. He lived in Jerusalem to carry out this most ambitious project from 1919 to 1923, and he resigned from his post in 1922. Thereafter, he went back to England and retired in Godden Green in Kent
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    With this in mind, Ashbee created in 1888, while still active in Toynbee Hall, the Guild and School of Handicraft in the same neighbourhood. While the school only lasted until 1895, the Guild flourished. The Guild was a workshop combining the principles of the Arts and Crafts as well as the social aspects Ashbee had learned with his social work. Five workmen constituted the small staff that begun the Guild of Handicraft under the supervision of Ashbee. They made furniture and worked with metal. The year following the creation of the workshop, they participated in the second exhibition of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition society as members of the co-operative of craft workers in leather, wood, metal and jewellery. In 1891, the Guild moved to Essex House still in the East End while a retail shop was implanted in the West End so it would be more accessible to the patrons of the Guild.
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    For him, the Socialist movement seemed to be the only solution to the problems of Victorian society, particularly the complications emerging from the Industrial Revolution.

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