What happens in the 19th century anticipates the developments in the 20th century.

studio job appearance plate, 2006 robert dawson after willow, 2004

we look to the past to build the future

william morris: the past is not dead, it is living within us

industrial revolution factories brought a new emerging middle class (factory owner) which make their lives more comfortable and have money to spend end of romanticism

birth of consumerism, beginning of designer age

chippendale pattern book rise of mail order catalogue

josiah wedgewood

The great exhibition and the crystal palace of 1851


  • Height of the British empire
  • Celebration of emprire and industrial prodution
  • Crystal palace based on greenhouses, used modular, pre-manufactured parts
  • Built within 10 months on time and on budget, largest sheets of glass ever made
  • 6 million visitors
  • Used profit to buy exhibition road and royal college of art
  • arts and crafts repeated show the crystal palace, sydenham 1870 national centre for enlightenment, educating consumers about design, good taste, idea of good design vs bad design burned down 1936

Design Reform 1

Response to the low standards of British design 1836 report says arts, good design don’t get enough support 1837 planned network of design schools (Camberwell) and establish museums of art free for the public

Henry Cole

Founder of the V&A

Design Reform 2 (Arts & Crafts)

  • Birth of the first English social and aesthetic movement
  • Criticised the industrial production, wanted to go back to crafstmanship of the middle age
  • worker looses ownership degeneration of design socialism

question the hierarchy between fine arts and design medieval / gothic japanese / asian arts and crafts using materials appropiately

inspiration traditional craftsmanship rustic forms nature (advances in science) the grammar of ornament

gothic architecture, typography houses of parliament 18376 look like a gothic church

Morris & Co. est 1875

The redesign of victorian england The red house as testing ground All sorts of craftsmanship

The V&A itself is part of the exhibition

Art Nouveau

  • Charles Darwin The Origin of Man
  • Ernst Heckle
  • René Lalique
  • Gustav Klimt

Bauhaus Dessau 1925

  • Movement towards geometry, simplification
  • Peter Behrens
  • The first World War sweeps away any decoration in design