Design movement initiated by William Morris in 1861 which aimed to improve the quality of design and make it available to the widest possible audience

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  • William Morris, 'Guinevere and Iseult: Cartoon for Stained Glass' 1862

    William Morris
    Guinevere and Iseult: Cartoon for Stained Glass 1862
    Chalk, pencil and watercolour on paper
    support: 610 x 685 mm
    Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1940

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  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 'Dantis Amor' 1860

    Dante Gabriel Rossetti
    Dantis Amor 1860
    Oil on mahogany
    support: 749 x 813 mm frame: 965 x 1019 x 61 mm
    Presented by F. Treharne James 1920

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  • Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Bt, 'The Finding of Medusa; The Death of Medusa (The Birth of Pegasus and Chrysaor); Perseus Pursued by the Gorgons' 1875-6

    Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Bt
    The Finding of Medusa; The Death of Medusa (The Birth of Pegasus and Chrysaor); Perseus Pursued by the Gorgons 1875-6
    Gouache, gold paint and pen and ink on paper
    support: 368 x 1284 mm
    Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1919

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The Arts and Crafts Movement emerged from the Pre-Raphaelite circle with the founding of the design firm Morris and Co. in 1861 by William Morris. He recruited Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Ford Madox Brown and Edward Burne-Jones as artist-designers with the key principle of raising design to the level of art. Morris emphasised simple functional design without the excess ornament and imitation of past typical of Victorian styles. Wallpapers or fabrics were based on natural motifs, particularly plant forms treated as flat pattern.

The Arts and Crafts movement is often seen as the starting point for modern design approaches e.g. by Nikolaus Pevsner in his book Pioneers of Modern Design: William Morris to Walter Gropius first published 1936, and was a key direct influence on the aesthetic movement and art nouveau.