Sunday, 28 August 2011

Francis Troup and the Art Workers' Guild

Before reading about the beginnings of the Arts and Crafts movement, I had not appreciated the significance of Francis Troup being a member of, and designing the Hall at the Art Workers' Guild.  This places Troup firmly in the midst of the Arts and Crafts movement.

Art Workers' Guild logo

As Walter Crane (who you may have noticed is my oracle on all arts and crafts events before 1900!) noted "The Art Workers' Guild...was able more effectively to raise the banner of Decorative Design and Handicraft and to gather under it a larger and wider representative group of artists" (Crane, Walter, An Artist’s Reminscences, The MacMillan Company, New York, 1907), than The Fifteen.  Crane explains the demise of The Fifteen in 1884 "we kept our meetings up for two or three years, and should, no doubt have existed for longer, but for the ultimate but natural absorption of our members into a larger Society, which was formed in 1884, with similar objects to ours, namely, "The Art Workers' Guild" (ibid).  The Art Workers Guild describe themselves as "founded in January 1884 at the Charing Cross Hotel. It was the coming-together of two existing informal discussion groups: The Fifteen, composed of designers like Walter Crane and Lewis F. Day; and the St George's Art Society, composed of six architects, all but one being pupils of Richard Norman Shaw".
No. 6, Queen Square,
address of the Art Workers' Guild

According to Crane, many members of The Art Workers' Guild had attended meetings of the Chelsea Conspirators.  He also observes that in 1888 as part of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society "many members of the Art Workers' Guild took a prominent part as presidents of various sections, as paper readers, or in the discussions"(ibid).
F.W. Troup in the 1920s

Stamp (Stamp, Gavin, A Hundred Years of the Art Workers Guild) describes of the Guild "Meetings are held fortnightly in the Hall built in the yard of No 6, Queen Square, and Bloomsbury. This hall is a convivial place it was designed by F.W. Troup and built in the 1913-14...(the Master) wears a chain of office made by Sir George Frampton, sits in a chair designed by W.R Lethaby for the short-lived firm Kenton & Co behind a table provided in 1888 as a temporary measure by W.A.S Benson. Members sit on (uncomfortable) ladder-backed, rush seated Clissett chairs, based on a design by Ernest Gimson. All very formal, very quaint, very traditional; yet within the Guild, as in civilization in a more general sense, a tradition may enshrine and pass on great truths about human nature and life. In the case of the Guild this truth is summed up in the motto on the Master’s chain and in the symbol above the Master’s chair, designed by Walter Crane: ‘Art is Unity’".

Troup Hall, drawn by Thomas Raffles Davison 1918

The hall Troup designed seems to also be called 'Troup's Hall' which is a lasting testament.  Stamp (ibid) remarks "A bust of Morris sits in pride of place in the niche above the Master’s chair in Troup’s Hall, yet when Morris’s name was first put up forward as a member in 1888 he was literally blackballed in the election.  Fortunately, owing to what Gordon Russell called ‘an entirely reprehensible and utterly justifiable bit of fiddling on the part of a scrutineer’, the black ball was deftly removed from the box."  When I included the drawing of Troup's Hall (above) in my earlier Troup post, I thought the ceiling was wooden beams, but looking at more recent photographs of the Hall I was surprised to see that it actually glass.

Troup Hall, Art Workers' Guild
In terms of Francis Troup's participation in the Art Workers' Guild, it would appear that he was a prominent member, although he seems to have not been an original member, joining in 1895.   I have just come across a very interesting directory that lists Troup's exhibitions, speeches and business interests ('Mr Francis William Troup', Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951, University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII, online database 2011).  An extract primarily listing the speeches he gave is below, from this his almost exclusive involvement in the Art Workers' Guild can be seen.

Extract of speeches and exhibitions of Francis Troup,
'Mr Francis William Troup', Mapping the Practice
and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951
University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII, 
online database 2011).
Parry refers to him as "architect of the Art Workers' Guild" (Parry, Linda, Textiles of the Arts & Crafts Movement, Thames & Hudson, 2005).  Troup became Master of the Art Workers' Guild in 1923 in recognition of "valuable and untiring services as Architect to the fabric of the Guild premises" he was made an ex-officio member of committee (The fifty-second annual report of the committee of the Art Workers' Guild, 1936).  
Gilbert Bayes (1872-1953),
dressed in the robe of Master of the Art Workers' Guild,
robe donated by F.W. Troup in 1924

Troup donated a number of items to the Art Workers' Guild:

  • Donated a red gown of office to be worn by the Master of the Guild and black gowns to be worn by the two honorary secretaries in 1924 [AWG annual report for 1924, p.10] - these robes are doubtless the ones referred to on the Art Workers Guild website, and were designed by Voysey: "The Master serves for a single calendar year, and is supported by two honorary secretaries. They conduct the formal business of meetings in robes designed by the architect C. F. A. Voysey."  This is complicated by a history of the Guild that says "The current Master wears a strange red
    robe, designed, some says, by Voysey (though Ashbee thought this, and other traditions, were created by Troup along with the Hall)."  (Stamp, ibid)
  • Troup was reported in the 1926 to have "not only safeguarded the interests of the Guild in connection with the new building next door [no further information given], but generously gave his 'party-wall' fee to pay for a new arrangement of the electric lighting of the Hall" [AWG annual report for 1926, p.9].
  • In Troup's will he left a bequest to the Guild of £250.  He also left "The Works of William Morris" (24 volumes), 'a collection of valuable books on Architecture and other crafts' (45 volumes), a collection of slides, a red painted table (designed and painted by Burne-Jones), two armchairs designed by W.R.Lethaby and E.Gimson [Fifty-eighth annual report of the Committee of the Art Workers' Guild, pp.5-6].
Troup Hall ceiling, Art Workers' Guild

Details are given on the same website of numerous talks that Troup gave at  the Art Workers' Guild, such as: 
  • the 1923 speech on 'Line': "Troup suggested a reconciliatory shaking of hands between Sullivan and Jackson at the end of the meeting"!
  • 'Scottish Art, 1500-1800' also in 1923: "Troup spoke with slides of Scottish buildings, gardens and illustrations of period domestic life, all lent by Sir R. Lorimer courtesy of J. Warrack." - this is interesting as Troup worked with Lorimer on Whinfold, the house at Hascombe in 1898
  • the 1925 talk on 'Substitutes in the Crafts': "Ladies' Night. Subject opened by H. Ricardo, followed by S. B. Caufield, A. Rackham, T. Wilson, F. W. Troup, C. R. Ashbee and N. Heaton"
  • the 1929 Inigo Jones speech: "J. A. Gotch read paper and showed slides, followed by (C.R.) Ashbee and Troup"
  • the 1938 speech 'Scotland's contribution to the Arts': "F. W. Troup spoke post-interval about Scottish architecture ancient and modern, showing many of his own drawings"
Past members of the Guild include the Dolmetsches, the famous Haslemere early music instrument makers.  Arnold Dolmestch was a member from 1899 and Carl Dolmetsch  in 1953.

Troup Hall detail, Art Workers' Guild

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Peasant Index - order to the chaos

When I started writing this blog, the thought of anyone other than myself or family under duress looking at it had not crossed my mind!  My posts probably appear chaotic to anyone except me, and therefore to give some order to everything I have just added a new page to the blog, an index.

I hope visitors find it helpful.

by Godfrey Blount,
from Arbor Vitae, Arthur Fifield, 1899

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Generational conflict?

Having read Walter Crane's memoirs, it has become apparent to me that Henry Hine and his daughters and sons-in-law may well have differed in their view of art.
Special edition of The Studio, 1906

Henry George Hine (Ethel Blount and Maude Egerton Hine's father) was a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours ('the Institute') from 1864 onwards, becoming Vice President in 1887, a post he held until his death in 1895.  His son, Harry Hine became a member in 1879.

Wareham Bridge, Henry G. Hine,
The Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours,
The Studio, Special Number, Spring 1906

Walter Crane was a member of the Royal Institute of Watercolours from 1882.  Crane joined the Institute when it absorbed 'The Dudley', another watercolour group which organized an annual 'General Exhibition of Water-Colour Drawings' which was held in the Egyptian Gallery of the Dudley Gallery.  In 'The History of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours' (The Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, The Studio, Special Number, Spring 1906) it is noted that the Institute gained from 'The Dudley' "some of the best men...amongst these men may be noted some like Richard Beavis, Walter Crane and Herbert von Herkomer...twenty-seven men all of repute and distinguished capacity".  There is another connection here as Godfrey Blount trained under Herbert von Herkomer at Bushey.

The admission of "The Dudley" members swelled the Institute to what seems today a modest number of eighty-nine.  Walter Crane exhibited a number of works including La Belle Dame Sans Merci in their new Piccadilly galleries in 1884.  

La Belle Dame Sans Merci, by Walter Crane
exhibited at the Royal Institute of Watercolours, 1884
The conflict in the art scene at the time however led Walter Crane to resign from the Institute in 1886, along with George Clausen, one of his fellow Chelsea Conspirators.  Professor von Herkomer also left the Institute in 1890.   They all joined the rival organization, the Old Watercolour Society; Crane joined in 1888, Clausen in 1889 and von Herkomer in 1893.  Referred to at the time as the 'Old Society', this  is now called the Royal Watercolour Society.  They describe themselves on their website as "second only to the Royal Academy of Art in importance as an art society".  Crane states that at the time of resignation, he had done so "with no thought of being a candidate for another body" (Crane, Walter, An Artist’s Reminscences, The MacMillan Company, New York, 1907), so it appears that the Old Society had not lured the members away.

The two main UK watercolour organizations c.1900,
both of which are still in existence today
Walter Crane refers to his resignation from the Institute in 1886 as a follow-on from the early history of the Arts and Crafts movement.  He reproduces a letter from Sir James Dromgole Linton, president of the Institute at the time, Crane comments that prior to the letter Linton had tried unsuccessfully to persuade him to withdraw his resignation, "my dear Crane, I am sorry there was no alternative but resignation" (Crane, ibid).  Interestingly Linton was residing at Haverstock Hill in 1886 as was Henry G. Hine and family.
Study of St Albans Abbey at Sunset,
Harry T. Hine, 1880

The discontent with the established art organizations at the time, is demonstrated by Walter Crane in his public request for sponsorship of the first exhibition of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society in 1888 "It has not been possible for a craftsman to test his work by the side of others, or, by a careful selection of examples, to prove that there are artists in other ways than oil or water colour, and other art than that enclosed in gilt frames or supported on pedestals." 
190-195 Piccadilly, London,
home of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour 1883-1970
where Henry G. Hine was Vice President 1887-1895
Throughout the emergence of the Arts and Crafts movement, Henry G. Hine held the position of Vice President at one of the rigid arts establishments.  I wonder what debates may have been had between him, his son Harry and his daughters and sons-in-law?  Would Henry have embraced the diverse crafts that the Blounts and the Kings called art?  Ultimately it would appear that Henry G. Hine left many of his paintings to Maude Egerton King (his youngest daughter), so whatever differences they may have had about art were overcome.

Godfrey Blout, from Arbor Vitae, 1899

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Pre-Haslemere Peasant Houses

I do like snooping at other people's houses and I have been googling to look at the houses the key members of the Peasant Arts movement used to live in before they moved to Haslemere.  It is difficult to know whether road names or house numbers have changed since 1900, but hopefully I have been looking in the right places!

Joseph King
In 1881 King was living as the head of the household at Welford House, Hampstead.  There is a Welford House Residents Association registered at Arkwright Road, Hampstead NW3 6AA, so I was wondering if the house was on this road.  It no longer appears to be there, perhaps as a result of the heavy bombing of Hampstead during World War 2; there appears to be a number of high explosives and incendiary damage on Arkwright Road.  Welford House seems to now be a collection of new houses, however it presumably looked like one of the older houses on the road.

Typical Arkwright Road house, Hampstead, NW3 6AA

Welford House?  Hampstead

In 1891 Joseph King was living at 6 Wedderburn Road, married to Maude Egerton King.  The houses on both Arkwright and Wedderburn roads look quite substantial, and similar in design.
Typical Wedderburn Road house

Greville MacDonald
From 1867 the MacDonald's lived at The Retreat, now known as Kelmscott House, Hammersmith.  They sold the house to William Morris who renamed it and made it famous.  

The Retreat, childhood home of Greville MacDonald 1867- 1878

Drawing Room interior of Kelmscott House (formerly The Retreat) 1896,
when owned by William Morris,
Victoria and Albert Museum
Greville's father owned Casa Coraggio in Bordighera, Italy, and the family spent a lot of time there.  I understand that the house was a gift to George MacDonald from a fan. The Italian climate was thought to be beneficial for George's health and that of his children, tuberculosis killed four of Greville's siblings.

Interior of Casa Coraggio, by Irene MacDonald
from The George MacDonald Informational Web

Italian home of George MacDonald,
Casa Coraggio, Bordighera
Greville lived, and presumably operated his private practice also, at 85 Harley Street in the 1880s, and lived there until he moved to Haslemere in 1919.  In 1891 Greville's brother, Robert Falconer MacDonald, was also living with Greville and Phoebe.  He was the architect who designed the house St. George's Wood in Haslemere for his father, George MacDonald.  Greville had three servants, a cook, a housemaid and a professional nurse.  I do not understand the professional nurse being classed as a servant, was she a colleague of Greville's working for his practice?   Or maybe she was looking after Greville's wife Phoebe, who at around 1919 "lost her leg"(MacDonald, Greville, 1932, Reminiscences of a Specialist, London, George Allen and Unwin).

85 Harley Street,
home to Greville MacDonald until 1919
Maude Egerton King (nee Hine) & Ethel Blount (nee Hine)
The Hines were living at 26 Park Road, Hampstead in 1871.  I am not sure where this road is, perhaps it is the Park Road that runs alongside Regents Park from Baker Street.  This road continues as the A41 to St Johns Wood, Swiss Cottage and up to Finchley Road but it is renamed at several points.

In 1881 the family were living at 130 Haverstock Hill.  It looks like that house is no longer in existence, possibly bombed during World War 2 also.

Hine family residence 1881
Haverstock Hill, 130 on left?  Typical house on right
The Hine residence was close to nearby Arkwright Road and Wedderburn Road where Joseph King was living in 1881 and 1891 respectively, in 1891 with Maude Egerton King, his then wife.  As the Hine's had so many children, Maude as the youngest was in the unusual position of being just 2 years older than her niece Ellen Shenton (or Sheraton) who was also living at 6 Wedderburn Road with Maude and Joseph, and their two servants.

Nearby also in 1891 was Ethel.  Ethel Blount as she then was, was living with Godfrey Blount at 1 Church Row Mews, Hampstead.  I think this is now simply called Church Row, Hampstead Parish Church is on Church Row.  I wonder if the Blounts and the Kings visited the church?   In contrast to the others, Godfrey and Ethel had no servants living with them; they continued to be servantless in 1901 and 1911.

1 Church Row Mews?
Residence of Godfrey & Ethel Blount 1891

St-John-at-Hampstead, on Church Row, Hampstead

The proximity of the four different residences is highlighted in the map below.

Map of Hampstead highlighting the Kings, Blounts and Hines addresses
Godfrey Blount
Godfrey Blount's childhood house looks quite inferior in size and stature to those of the other Peasant Arts members.  He lived at 6 High Street, Bagshot.  According to the 1861 census there were 4 servants living here, including a governess, cook and a groom.  Including visitors, there were 13 people staying here in 1861, this makes me wonder how the photograph below can be the same address, as the house would have been overflowing.

6? High Street, Bagshot
home of Godfrey Blount 1861
High Street, Bagshot

I think these photographs show that the Kings, Greville MacDonald and the Blounts were all living in respectable houses prior to their move to Haslemere.  Joseph King, Greville MacDonald and the Hines houses were all quite substantial residences, and were members of a privileged class.  Godfrey Blount on the other hand appears to have been living in a much smaller residence but nonetheless a comfortable one.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The Blounts, the Holidays & the Cranes - dress & exhibiting

The reason why I wrote my previous posts about the birth of the Arts and Crafts movement was because there were some connections that I had not appreciated previously between the Peasant Arts movement and some of the people involved in the Arts and Crafts movement and the Healthy and Artistic Dress Union.  It would appear that the Blounts, Holidays and Cranes all produced some work as joint collaborations of husband and wife, and were all interested in the anti-corset movement.
Honesty plaster frieze by G. J. Frampton,
exhibited at 1896 Arts and Crafts Society Exhibition,
The Studio vol 9, issue 44, November 1896

Godfrey Blount exhibited works at the 1896 and 1899 Arts and Crafts Society Exhibitions (Parry, Linda, Textiles of the Arts and Crafts Movement, Thames & Hudson, 2005).  Unfortunately it is not clear what works these were, but we do know that Godfrey and his wife, Ethel Blount, worked together on tapestries.  Parry noted that the 1899 exhibition contained an increased representation of hand-weaving.  Walter Crane was the President of the Society at the time.  Then in 1904 the Godfrey and Ethel Blount joined the Healthy and Artistic Dress Union committee of which Walter Crane was one of the Vice-Presidents.
The Dress Review, January 1904
President Henry Holiday, Vice-President Walter Crane,
General Committee members Godfrey Blount and Mrs Godfrey Blount

Henry Holiday was the President of the Healthy and Artistic Dress Union, and was an original member of The Fifteen with Walter Crane back in 1886.  Holiday exhibited embroidery in the 1896 Arts and Crafts Society Exhibition. 
Bed cover designed by William Morris,
made by Catherine Holiday c.1876,
Victoria & Albert Museum

Linda Parry (ibid) refers to his wife, Catherine Holiday, as William Morris’ favourite embroideress, the only one ‘whose work is as good as the old’.  She worked for Morris & Co., embroidering Morris and Henry Holiday’s designs.  Her work was “mostly large-scale bedcovers, hangings and portieres which were drawn out in Morris & Co.’s workshops and embroidered in the firm’s silks.  She was a hard-headed businesswoman, and all her work for Morris was done after mutual agreement on colours and materials.  He was often worried that her prices of £100-150 per hanging were too high.  Three panels embroidered by her, one designed by Morris and another by Henry Holiday, were exhibited in 1888 and 1890.” (ibid)
Healthy & Artistic Dress Union leaflet detail

Walter Crane’s wife and daughter also exhibited works at the Arts and Crafts Society Exhibitions.  In the 1888 exhibition “of all the embroideries exhibited, Mrs Walter Crane’s mantel valance worked in white cotton on black wool was singled out for praise by several journals” (Parry, ibid).  Although not appearing as a Committee member on the Healthy and Artistic Dress Union, the July 1906 Dress Review reported Mrs Walter Crane as presiding over a Healthy and Artistic Dress Union meeting "A few highly appreciated words were spoken by Mistress Crane, who emphatically condemned tight-lacing, though she admitted she now liked a little support herself".
Mrs Walter Crane, 1882
by Walter Crane, Musee Orsay

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Walter Crane and the birth of the Arts & Crafts movement

Completing my foray into the not very well-documented birth of the Arts and Crafts movement, it is interesting to note that Walter Crane recalls “the title “The Combined Arts” headed our first circular, and it was not until later that our title “Arts and Crafts” was adopted, I think on the suggestion of Mr. T.J. Cobden-Sanderson, who acted as Hon. Secretary.” (An Artist’s Reminscences, The MacMillan Company, New York, 1907)
Arts and Crafts Society header by Walter Crane

The circular written by Walter Crane as chair of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society requesting guarantors to hold the first exhibition is reproduced by Crane in his memoirs:

“Something very like a revival of the arts and handicrafts has been taking place amongst us of late years; but while the awakening of interest is undeniable and widespread, there has hitherto been no means – except such chance opportunities as have been from time to time afforded by various trade exhibitions – of enabling those concerned with the more purely artistic side of the applied arts, or crafts of design, to gauge our general progress.  It has not been possible for a craftsman to test his work by the side of others, or, by a careful selection of examples, to prove that there are artists in other ways than oil or water colour, and other art than that enclosed in gilt frames or supported on pedestals.  In short, there is no existing exhibition of art which gives an opportunity to the designer and the craftsman as such to show their work under their own names, and give them at least a chance of the attention and applause which is now generally monopolised by the pictorial artist.
detail of The Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society ticket, 1890
designed by Walter Crane

"It is believed that such opportunities of public recognition and distinction would supply a stimulus not hitherto felt by workers in the handicrafts, and would tend to draw artistic invention and skill again to the arts in their endless forms of application to daily life and its associations and surroundings, to the charm of which their beauty may contribute so much, and so, perhaps, we should go far to nourish the tree at the roots instead of, as now, too often attempting to grow it downwards.

"Art exhibitions have hitherto tended to foster the prevalent notion that the term ‘Art’, is limited to the more expensive kinds of portable picture-painting, unmindful of the truth that the test of the condition of the arts in any age must be sought in the state of the crafts of design…
New Gallery, Central Hall,from New Gallery Catalogue No. 1, Summer 1888

"The Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society has been formed with these convictions, and with the aim (1) of taking measures for organising an exhibition of the decorative arts, which shall show (2) as far as possible the inventive and executive powers of the designers and makers of the various works that may be exhibited, such as textiles, tapestry, and needle-work, carvings, metal-work, including goldsmith’s work, bookbinding, painted glass, painted furniture, etc. etc. to illustrate the relation of the arts in application to different materials and uses, without, however, excluding paintings or sculptures less directly of a decorative kind when space is available for showing them in proper relations.  (3) It is not proposed to undertake the sale  of works, but to refer intending purchasers directly to the exhibitors. (4) All work will be exhibited under the name of the designer and responsible executant…
New Gallery, Regent Street interior, 1888
site of the first, and subsequent, Arts and Crafts Society Exhibitions

“The Society have the refusal of the New Gallery in Regent Street for their exhibition in the ensuing autumn, and a sum of £260 has been already guaranteed by the members, but while there is reasonable prospect of the exhibition being self-supporting, since it is not desirable to conclude final arrangements until the whole of the estimated costs are at command further guarantees are invited to make up a further sum of £500.  The profits of the exhibition, after exonerating the guarantors, would be devoted to future exhibitions of the Society.

“As one interested in the welfare of the arts, we venture to put our objects before you, and invite you to become a guarantor.

“In order to make the necessary arrangements, we should be obliged  if you would kindly favour us with your reply by the 26th of March.
                                                                        Walter Crane, President
Harry Bates                                                      William De Morgan
W. A. S. Benson                                              William Morris
(Hon. Sec. and Treasurer)                                J. Hungerford Pollen
Somers Clarke                                                  G. T. Robinson
Lewis F. Day                                                    T. J. Cobden-Sanderson
Onslow Ford                                                     J. D. Sedding
F. Gerrard                                                         Heywood Sumner
C. Guiliano                                                       Emery Walker
Thomas Godfrey                                              Thomas Wardle
W. R. Lethaby                                                  Metford Warner
Henry Longden                                                Stephen Webb
W. H. Lonsdale                                                N. H. J. Westlake
Mervyn McCartney”

The first exhibition of the Arts and Crafts Society was held in October 1888, and the ensuing rise of the movement is well-documented elsewhere.
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