Event: William Morris and the American Arts and Crafts Movement
Date: Monday February 17
Time: 5:30pm Reception; 6:15 Lecture
Location: Hayden Library, Room C6A/East
Description: The “William Morris: The American Arts and Crafts Movement” lecture features two of the leading experts on this subject.
The evening will begin with a presentation by Design Professor, Beverly Brandt, titled “Purveyors of ‘Art Produce’: Sources for Morris & Co. and Other Arts and Crafts Wares in Boston, 1880 – 1920.” Her talk will demonstrate that Boston was a hot bed of design reform as well as an influential American center for both the Aesthetic and the Arts & Crafts movements. Architects, designers, artists, and craft workers cultivated an atmosphere of “Usefulness” and “Beauty” in church, home, and work place. The reformed interiors in which they worshipped, lived, and worked—or which they helped to create—demanded suitable finishes and furnishings. As a result, Boston’s merchants were quick to stock innovative goods from the Boston area, the Northeastern United States, and across the seas, hoping to satisfy the tastes of the most discerning clients. Chief among these goods were the works of William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Numerous Boston stores began stocking Morris & Co. goods in the 1889s as well as artistic merchandise by key American craft workers. Bostonians relied upon their city’s local merchants to help them achieve a standard, evoked by the romantic historicism of Pre-Raphaelite paintings, and worthy of the products sold by Morris & Co. This talk will also touch upon sources for Asian goods as well as Colonial antiques. Trade catalogues and cards, postcards, period photographs, and illustrations will bring to light the impact of Boston’s important “purveyors of ‘art produce’” upon its reformed interiors.
Beverly Brandt is an award-winning Professor in The Design School at Arizona State University, where she teaches courses on design history, theory, and criticism. She received her Ph.D. from the American and New England Studies Program at Boston University in 1985. Her dissertation and subsequent publications have focused upon the Arts & Crafts Movement, specifically The Society of Arts & Crafts in Boston. Her work has been featured in numerous magazines and journals including American Craft, American Ceramics, Metalsmith, Designers West, Historic New England, the American Society of Interior Designers Report, Tiller, The Tabby, the Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies, the Journal of the Archives of American Art, the Journal of Interior Design, and the Journal of Interior Design Education and Research. She has contributed essays to The Encyclopedia of Arts & Crafts, the International Arts Movement, 1850 - 1920 (1989; reprinted 1998); The Ideal Home, The History of Twentieth-Century American Craft, 1900 - 1920 (1993), Innovation and Derivation: The Contribution of L. & J.G. Stickley to the Arts and Crafts Movement (1995), the Substance of Style: Perspectives on the American Arts and Crafts Movement (1996), The Craftsman on CD-ROM (1998), the award-winning Inspiring Reform: Boston's Arts and Crafts Movement (1997), Country Houses and Collections: An Anthology (2002), and Gustav Stickley and the American Arts & Crafts Movement (2010.) Her 2009 monograph, The Craftsman & the Critic: Defining Usefulness and Beauty in Arts and Crafts-Era Boston, was underwritten in part by the New England Regional Fellowship Consortium, the Craft Research Fund, and the Hildegard Streuffert Endowment.
Boston-area based art historian, Maureen Meister, will present a slide lecture titled "William Morris and Arts and Crafts Architecture: From England, to New England, to Phoenix, Arizona." Her talk will include commentary about Phoenix’s Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, which was designed by Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge of Boston and represents the movement of Arts and Crafts ideas from England, through Boston, to the Southwest.
Meister’s specialty is American art and architecture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She is the author of Architecture and the Arts and Crafts Movement in Boston: Harvard's H. Langford Warren (2003) and is volume editor for H. H. Richardson: The Architect, His Peers, and Their Era (1999). Her articles include "Two Arts and Crafts Houses: Paradigms in Pasadena and Boston," which appeared in the Magazine Antiques (Sept. 2007). Her latest book is entitled Arts and Crafts Architects and Their Advocates: History and Heritage in New England and is scheduled for release this fall.
Meister has taught at Tufts University since 1998 and has also taught at Northeastern University, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. She holds a doctorate from Brown University and an A.B. from Mount Holyoke College.