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William Morris: Useful Beauty in the Home

'Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.'\ --- William Morris

The Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century transformed England beyond recognition, turning a country of farmers into factory workers. It was a world 'which saw the rich getting richer and the poor getting very much poorer'. The artist, designer and political radical, William Morris, brought together a group of colleagues to challenge the 'dishonest' mechanisation of factory goods and restore the importance of craftsmanship, quality and 'truthfulness' through design.

Art historian Abigail Harrison-Moore visits the National Trust's Standen house, one of the most charming examples of Arts and Crafts workmanship in the UK, and explores its surprisingly pioneering spirit -- from the use of electric lighting to its role in the Suffragette movement.

Time Period:

19th century



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Abigail Harrison Moore is the Head of the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, and Professor of Art History and Museum Studies at the University of Leeds.

Abigail's research focuses on the art history of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, particularly the Arts and Crafts Movement, and her last book, Fraud, Fakery and False Business (2011), considered the social, legal and political dimensions of the art and antiques market in 1920s England. She has more recently been working on an international project on the histories and cultures of energy supply, with collaborators from Canada, Austria, Sweden and the US. In the UK, she is very focused on creative education in schools, has helped develop the curriculum in her subject areas, developed the University's EPQ programme of support and the Discovery Days project, in association with ARTiculation and the Devonshire Educational Trust, and has written widely on the educational challenges for young people from low social and economic groups.

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