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The Arts and Crafts Movement was a British and American aesthetic movement occurring in the last years of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th century. Inspired by the writings of John Ruskin and a romantic idealization of the craftsman taking pride in his personal handiwork, it was at its height between approximately 1880 and 1910.
It was a reformist movement that influenced British and American architecture, decorative arts, cabinet making, crafts, and even the "cottage" garden designs of William Robinson or Gertrude Jekyll. Its best-known practitioners were William Morris, Charles Robert Ashbee, T. J. Cobden Sanderson, Walter Crane, Nelson Dawson, Phoebe Anna Traquair, Herbert Tudor Buckland, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Christopher Dresser, Edwin Lutyens, Ernest Gimson, William Lethaby, Edward Schroeder Prior, Frank Lloyd Wright, Gustav Stickley, Greene & Greene, Charles Voysey, Christopher Whall and artists in the Pre-Raphaelite movement.
In the United States, the terms American Craftsman, or Craftsman style are often used to denote the style of architecture, interior design, and decorative arts that prevailed between the dominant eras of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, or roughly the period from 1910 to 1925.
Widely exhibited in Europe, the Arts and Crafts movement's qualities of simplicity and honest use of materials negating historicism inspired designers like Henry van de Velde and movements such as Art Nouveau, the Dutch De Stijl group, Vienna Secession, and eventually the Bauhaus. The movement can be assessed as a prelude to Modernism, where pure forms, stripped of historical associations, would be once again applied to industrial production.
In Russia, Viktor Hartmann, Viktor Vasnetsov and other artists associated with Abramtsevo Colony sought to revive the spirit and quality of medieval Russian decorative arts in the movement quite independent from that flourishing in Great Britain.
The Wiener Werkstätte, founded in 1903 by Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser, played an independent role in the development of Modernism, with its Wiener Werkstätte Style.
The British Utility furniture of World War II was simple in design and based on Arts and Crafts ideas.
In Ireland, the Honan Chapel, located in Cork, Ireland, on the grounds of University College Cork, built in 1916 is internationally recognised as representative of the Irish Arts and Crafts movement.
In the United States, the Arts and Crafts Movement took on a distinctively more bourgeois flavor. While the European movement tried to recreate the virtuous world of craft labor that was being destroyed by industrialization, Americans tried to establish a new source of virtue to replace heroic craft production: the tasteful middle-class home. They thought that the simple but refined aesthetics of Arts and Crafts decorative arts would ennoble the new experience of industrial consumerism, making individuals more rational and society more harmonious. In short, the American Arts and Crafts Movement was the aesthetic counterpart of its contemporary political movement: Progressivism.