Arts and Crafts Lamp
History of Art Nouveau - Arts and Crafts, circa 1860 - 1920
article by Jim Hoyle
The Arts and Crafts era began in England during the late 1800's. Simple clean
designs and individual craftsmanship that employed aspects of nature were the
main characteristics of this design period. This new movement was in direct
contrast to the mass production of products that was made possible by the
industrial revolution. This new art was also many ways
a relief from the lavishly ornate designs of the Victorian era which preceded.
The industrial revolution had dehumanized the process of manufacturing
especially as it relates to home decor products. It broke down the work process
into various components by processes called the "division of labor". Workers
were able to work on only a portion of a complete product. The Arts and Crafts
movement was a rebuttal of this dehumanizing process as it was concerned
specifically with the human element of a person creating an entire product from
start to finish.
The architect Augustus Pugin (1812-1852) was one of the first outspoken leaders
in speaking against the dehumanizing aspect of the industrial revolution. He was
followed by other proponents of these ideas: John Ruskin (1819-1900), William
Morris (1834-1896) and Phillip Webb. Morris was the most popular name associated
with this movement.
This new style of art spread throughout Europe and was named Art Nouveau (new
art) by the French. Each country and region had its own styles and variations of
this new art movement.
During the late 1800's, America was basically importing its artistic and home
furnishings designs from England and Europe. Colonial and Shaker designs were
the only truly American styles at that time. Gustav Stickley's simple and clean
furniture designs exemplified the Arts and Crafts style in America.
There were a number of remarkable lamp companies of that period. Their products
are very collectible and highly sought after today. Many of these collectible
Arts and Crafts Lamps or Art Nouveau Lamps that sold for $ 15 - $ 25 in the
1920's may now sell for many $ 1,000's and much more.
Some of the lamp companies which are representative of the Arts and Crafts or
Art Nouveau era were:
Duffner & Kimberly
Bradley and Hubbard
Cincinnati Iron Works
DIrk Van Erp
Art Nouveau lamps