|Aesthetic, Arts & Crafts
Aesthetic and Arts & Crafts Ceramics
Early in the industrial revolution, concerns were raised on the aesthetic as well as the practical quality of manufactured goods offered to the public. By the mid 19th Century, efforts to raise design standards led directly to the Crystal Palace and subsequent international expositions and to the founding of what was to become the Victoria and Albert Museum. In the last decades of the century these issues found expression in two related movements: Aestheticism and Arts & Crafts.
The Aesthetic Movement was an English and American response to the French notion of "Art for art's sake," resulting in a cult-like pursuit of the beautiful object and the beautiful home. Proving that one possessed superior taste was of utmost importance. Seeking new flavors of beauty, designers explored forms and motifs from far flung historic periods and exotic geographic locales - particularly from Japan, newly opened to western trade.
The Arts & Crafts Movement looked to the pre-industrial age as inspiration, emulating the simple forms and patterns of handcrafted goods. Initiated by individual designer/theorists and small studios, the trend ultimately influenced larger manufacturers as well as home crafts. Its most significant ceramic manifestations were the art pottery phenomenon and a reinvigoration of tile design.
Please note that aesthetic period transferware is presented in its own section of this website.