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Seminar: Manufacture to the Arts & Crafts c. 1860-1914

Published by on 29 November 2021

Join us on Zoom this Wednesday the 1st of December from 4.00pm to 7.30pm (GMT) for the final of our five weekly autumn 2021 online courses. This week three speakers will consider the period, 1860-1914.


Professor Clive Edwards

From Manufacture to the Arts & Crafts (c.1860 – 1914)

clive edwards

Images: Clive Edwards

This talk will discuss developments in the organisation and nature of furniture making and the elaboration of techniques and processes of manufacture. The changes implied in the adoption of powered machinery and innovative techniques will be considered in relation to preparatory work, construction, decoration, and finishing by certain leading manufacturing firms, in comparison to maintaining the continuity of traditional craft making processes. Taken together, these approaches offer a picture of the enduring nature of an industry that reacted to technological change based on need rather than notional ideas of progress.  


Matthew Winterbottom

'At Home in Antiquity': furniture designed by Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema

Copyright (Attribution/Credit)
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Image: Armchair designed by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912), and made in London by Johnstone, Norman & Co., 1884-1886 [W.25:1, 2-1980]. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The spectacular suite of Greco-Roman furniture commissioned by railroad and insurance tycoon Henry Gurdon Marquand was commissioned in 1882 for the music room for his New York mansion. The Marquand suite, which comprised two settees, two armchairs (one at the V&A and one at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne), two piano stools and a piano, was made by Johnstone, Norman & Co. and decorated by Sir Edward Poynter, Royal Academician from 1876 & President of the Royal Academy in 1896.  The talk will consider other furniture designed by leading Victorian fine artists and the London-based firm that made them.  


Annette Carruthers

Arts & Crafts furniture makers and designers

plain handicrafts

Image: Taken from W. R. Lethaby's 'Cabinet Making' (1892)

Arts & Crafts architects and designers at the turn of the twentieth century worked with cabinet makers and joiners in a variety of ways to produce furniture to suit their own taste and the contemporary market. This talk will sample the range, including the rare designer-makers, the few who set up their own workshops, and those who had their work executed by independent cabinet makers or sold their designs to established firms.  


BIFMO is grateful for the support of the Foyle Foundation and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.

You can get further information and book tickets on the FHS Website or on Eventbrite

If you have any queries, please email:

Title illustration of Arts & Crafts oak sideboard with inlay of ebony, sycamore, and bleached mahogany. Designed by W.R. Lethaby. Maker unknown, 1898-99 [CIRC.41:6-1953]. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

About the authors

Clive Edwards

Clive Edwards is Emeritus Professor of Design History at Loughborough University. After a career in the retailing of furniture and interiors he took an MA in the History of Design at the Royal College of Art/Victoria and Albert Museum and subsequently completed a PhD on Victorian furniture technology.

He has published widely with works including monographs on aspects of furniture technology, materials and trades, furnishing textiles and the manufacture and retailing of domestic furnishings, as well as contributions to multi-authored works on interiors, architecture and home furnishings. His interest in cross-disciplinary study is evident in his work, which includes research on design, materials and technology, manufacturing, consumption, and retailing.

Matthew Winterbottom

Matthew Winterbottom was appointed Curator of nineteenth-century decorative arts in the Department of Western Art at the Ashmolean Museum in March 2014. This new post was created to develop a collection of decorative arts in order to complement the Ashmolean’s superb collection of nineteenth-century paintings, works on paper and sculpture.

Matthew led the redevelopment and redisplay of the Museum’s nineteenth-century art galleries that opened in May 2016. These galleries show for the first time decorative arts together with paintings and sculpture. Matthew started his career in the Victoria & Albert Museum in the Metalwork (later Furniture & Woodwork) Department. He then spent seven years as the decorative arts curator at the Royal Collection before moving to the Holburne Museum in Bath. There he led the redevelopment of the decorative art galleries as part of the Museum’s extension and major refurbishment.

Annette Carruthers

Annette Carruthers worked as a curator of decorative arts in Leicester and Cheltenham and taught at the University of St Andrews until 2014. She has published widely on the Arts & Crafts Movement, most recently as co-author with Mary Greensted and Barley Roscoe of a new book entitled Ernest Gimson Arts & Crafts Designer and Architect (Yale University Press, 2019).