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English Arts & Crafts

History

The Arts and Crafts movement began in England in the mid 1800s as an opposing philosophy to the industrial manufacturing process that was taking jobs away from the craftsman. They believed that the artisan and craftsman should be allowed to express their creativity, and that every part of a home should add to it’s aesthetic beauty as a whole. The movement greatly influenced many architects, including Sir Edwin Lutyens, C.F.A. Vossey and A.H. Mackmurdo (to name a few).

The craftsman of the medieval era, who built by hand impressive cathedrals and palaces of their era, were used as archetypes for the new expression; and so many of the architectural forms closely resembled the characteristics of the Tudor Revival movement, (though there was a great deal more expression in the detailing). The movement gained popularity and spread across Europe and made it’s way to America by the early 1900s. While the philosophy remained the same, the architecture evolved, merged with Japanese influence, and became the roots of what we now call the Craftsman style in America.

characteristics

English Arts and Crafts architecture was based mostly on the overall characteristics of medieval English architecture, but re-envisioned it into something new. The nature of the movement allowed for a greater freedom of expression, and thus each architect brought his own creativity to it’s evolution. Vossey was known for his simple, straight rooflines, large curving bay windows, sloped corners and simple white stucco exteriors. Lutyens explored asymmetrical gables, double and triple “joined” gables, oversized and deeply recessed arches and half timbering. Despite these variations, they all generally shared the main characteristics of the Tudor Revival Style: Steeply pitched roofs, dominant front facing gables, oversized chimneys, and tall, narrow, multi paned windows grouped together. True examples of the style in America are fairly rare, though in the right circles, it does have quite a following.

 

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