by Judith Miller
(Miller’s/Mitchell Beazley, $39.99)
Reviewed by Larry Cox
Beginning in the late 19th century, Arts & Crafts became one of the most influential movements of all time. It was a radically new approach, triggered partly by resistance to many of the items displayed in the Great Exhibition of 1851, Victorian wares that were ornate and artificial.
William Morris was an idealist and romantic who, along with John Ruskin and Edward Burne-Jones, resisted the Victorian era, inspired instead by the Medieval guild system with its traditional craft techniques that reflected the dignity and prestige of the artisan. In fact, Morris had a simple rule that helped define the Arts & Crafts movement, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
This same rule could certainly apply to the stylish new book by Judith Miller. It is useful, quite beautiful and deserves to be in every home.
Miller, an international expert in the field of antiques and collectibles, has written more than 100 books. “Arts & Crafts” is sure to be one of her most celebrated. She has gathered more than 1,000 high-quality photographs and combined them seamlessly with an accessible text to provide a clear assessment of the Arts & Crafts movement, documenting everything from metal ware to glass, textiles, jewelry, books and posters.
She also features profiles of key designs, such as the Stickley Brothers, Liberty & Co., Tiffany Studios, George Ohr, Rockwood, Newcomb and Ramsden & Carr. As might be expected, Miller’s book is an absolute celebration of the Arts & Crafts movement.
This book includes a pictorial design directory with price ranges and a wealth of essential information for collectors and enthusiasts. As a new generation of collectors are discovering the beauty and truth of the Arts & Crafts period, Miller’s book is also timely.