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Arts and Crafts Movement

The Wilson holds an internationally important Designated collection of the British Arts and Crafts Movement, inspired by William Morris, which spans the 1880s to about 1940. He developed its three guiding principles: honest, functional design, the use of natural forms in pattern, and the importance of creative, manual work. The movement began in London and other big cities but many designers moved to the countryside to live the simple life. The Cotswolds became the main rural centre for the Arts and Crafts from 1890.

The collection provides an insight into one of the most influential art movements in Britain through items of furniture, silver and other metalwork, jewellery, pottery, plasterwork, leatherwork, private press books, textiles and important archives. The Cotswolds became an important centre for the Movement, and the collection has a strong local base featuring work by designers such as C.R. Ashbee and Ernest Gimson. Since the 1970s the collection has been developed to give a national overview with work by William Morris, C.F.A. Voysey, M.H. Baillie Scott, Eric Gill and many others. The collection showcases the colourful designs and craft skills of the makers as well as the thought-provoking social message of the Movement with its emphasis on creative manual work. Men and women, professionals and amateurs, were encouraged to make things and to experiment with new and old techniques, which are represented in the collections. The Arts and Crafts Movement was also involved in current issues such as sustainable production and conservation.

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