Pequot Library Special Collections Gothic Architecture
Gothic Architecture: A Lecture For The Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society By William MorrisIllustrated by William Morris and Mark Samuels Lasner Curated by Laura O’Reilly
William MorrisGothic Architecture: A Lecture For The Arts and Crafts Exhibition SocietyIllustrated by William Morris and Mark Samuels LasnerThe Kelmscott Press, 1893As a poet, artist, manufacturer, and socialist, William Morris’ love of fifteenth centuryart began young and lasted his entire life. Born in Essex on March 24, 1834, he wentto Oxford with the intention of taking holy orders, but was drawn instead to socialreform. Inspired by the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelites and John Ruskin’s essay“The Nature of Gothic”, he adopted Ruskin’s beliefs of “rejecting the tawdry industrialmanufacture of decorative art and architecture in favor of a return to hand-craftsmanship, raising artisans to the status of artists, creating art that should beaffordable and hand-made, with no hierarchy of artistic mediums”. This idea spreadinto all aspects of his life- artistic, political, and social.Morris gave this lecture in 1889 to the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, which wasformed in London in 1887 to promote the exhibition of decorative arts alongside finearts as part of the larger Arts and Crafts Movement. Morris gave this lecture at theNew Gallery, an art gallery located on Regent Street in London. After annualexhibitions began to undergo financial turmoil, Morris’s first exhibition as presidentwas a major success. The Arts and Crafts Movement proved to be an influence untilthe first World War. Morris was elected to the presidency of the Society in 1891.
Morris created the Kelmscott Press at Hammersmith, London in January 1890 inorder carry out the goals of the Society and to produce books by traditionalmethods. The Kelmscott Press inspired the creation of many other privatepresses in the “Private Press Movement.” In this edition, Morris’ GothicArchitecture uses his Roman “Golden” type inspired by the type of Venetianprinter Nicolaus Jenson along with traditional woodcut illustrations in creatinglarge decorated initial capitals.Student Curator: Laura O’Reilly
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