Key Dates: -1850
The Victorian style of heavily ornamented interiors displaying many pieces of furniture, collections of small ornamental objects, and surfaces covered with fringed cloths prevailed in middle-class homes in England and America during the latter half of the 19th century. In both countries, techniques of mass production promoted the use of reproductions in many different styles. William Morris, the British poet, artist and architect rejected this opulence in favor of simplicity, good craftsmanship, and good design. The Arts & Crafts Movement was born.
To the proponents of Arts & Crafts, the Industrial Revolution separated humans from their own creativity and individualism; the worker was a cog in the wheel of progress, living in an environment of shoddy machine-made goods, based more on ostentation than function. These proponents sought to reestablish the ties between beautiful work and the worker, returning to an honesty in design not to be found in mass-produced items. Architecture, furniture, and the decorative arts became the focus of the movement.