Designer's Style

image 1 Georgian

Sir William Chambers (1726 - 1796) was one of the earliest writers on interior decoration. A classicist in design he was heavily influenced by his travels to China. In 1757 he published Designs of Chinese buildings, furniture, dresses, machines, and utensils. This book was said to have influenced Thomas Chippendale, George Hepplewhite and Robert Adam in their future designs. Chambers was the Royal Architect to George III. He is best known for the Neoclassical building Somerset House in London.

Thomas Chippendale(1718 - 1779) was a cabinet maker and interior designer. He was commissioned to design furniture for many large houses and collaborated with Robert Adams. Chippendale published his furniture designs in The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director.

George Hepplewhite(1727- 1786) was a cabinet and chair maker. His wife published his original designs in The Cabinet Maker and Upholsterers Guide in 1788. The neoclassical Hepplewhite style is most recognised by his shield back chair, made of delicate contrasting veneers, a slender balanced design with uncarved tapered legs.

Robert Adam(1728-1792) was a Scottish architect who was involved in the design and construction of many important buildings. Adams moved away from the popular Palladian style, which was a strict following of the Ancient Roman architecture. Instead he experimented and developed a neoclassical style. Influenced by Greek, Byzantine and Italian Baroque styles, Adams designed every detail of his building including the interiors with furniture to ornaments. His classical motifs can be still seen today with swags and ribbons and Adam style fireplaces.



Gothic Revival With the rise of Romanticism in the mid 18th Century, design moved towards the past again. The Middle Ages heavily influenced architects and designers of the time. They returned and reproduced materials and techniques that would of been used in Medieval buildings. Key features seen in Gothic Revival style would of been high pitched roofs, pointed arches, stained glass and ornamental tracery.

Augustus Welby Pugin a Catholic who believed that Gothic architecture was a product of a purer society. The pointed arch was regularly seen in his work. Pugin was responsible for many Cathedrals, Abbeys and Colleges of the time.

Art Nouveau At the end of the 19th Century a new movement of art emerged throughout europe that heavily influenenced designers. Art Nouveau was a highly stylized decorative art, influenced by organic plant life and curvilinear forms.

Art Nouveau designers also believed that all the arts should work in harmony to create a "total work of art," or Gesamtkunstwerk: buildings, furniture, textiles, clothes, and jewelry all conformed to the principles of Art Nouveau. National Gallery of Art

image 1Liberty Style came from the London store Liberty & Co. The founder Arthur Lasenby Liberty wanted to house together quality products of good design and modest cost. He promoted designers that reflected his strong beliefs in design that evolved from the floral Art Nouveau and embraced the Arts and Craft movement. To keep costs down Liberty commissioned his own range of goods, including pewter and silver ware. Archibald Knox became a household name through his Celtic designs for Libertys. Liberty's charactistic floral prints are still reproduced today in textiles and wallpapers.

In the 1890s Arthur Lasenby Liberty built strong relationships with many leading English designers. Many of these designers were key figures in the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau movements and Arthur Liberty was instrumental in the development of Art Nouveau through his encouragement of such designers. The store became one of the most prestigious in London.

Arts & Craft Movement emerged in the 1880's in reaction to the mass production of goods in the Victorian period. Artist like William Morris and Charles Voysey felt that there had been a decline in craftsmanship skills due to the use of machines.

The decline of rural handicrafts, corresponding to the rise of industrialized society, was a cause for concern for many designers and social reformers, who feared the loss of traditional skills and creativity. Wikipedia

The Arts & Craft Movement was influenced by medieval craftsmanship. Believing one craftsman should make an item from start of finish and only using local materials. Finished pieces would often be unvarnished and simple in design.

image 1 William Morris (1834 - 1896). While at Oxford University he met Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The three Pre-Raphaelite artists formed a group called the Brotherhood. The group was soon to be joined with Philip Webb and Ford Madox Brown. These artists specialized in producing stained glass, carving, furniture, wallpaper, carpets and tapestries all inspired by their love of the Medieval period.

William De Morgan (1839 -1917) was a potter that designed tiles, stained glass and furniture for Morris & Co. De Morgan took inspiration from medieval designs, using fish, galleons and animals in his work.

Charles Voysey (1857 -1941) first found success as a textile and wallpaper designer. He produced hundreds of patterns for Essex & Co. His designs were often based around birds, florals and hearts. Voysey also gained recognition as an architect and greatly influenced house design of the 1920's and 1930's. He designed every detail of his buildings from the pitch of roof to the interior decoration. Inspired by the English vernacular style which sourced local stone and materials to reproduce a design that was influenced by the 16th and 17th Century.

Charles Voysey was true to the Arts & Craft movement in believing in function and form. His designs were simple in decoration, using a limited colour palette and using lots of unvarnished hardwoods.

image 1Charles Rennie Macintosh(1868 - 1928) Scottish architect and designer linked with the Arts & Craft movement. He was responsible for the design of the Glasgow School of Art, its library block, the Cranston Tearooms and Hill House in Helensburgh.

Macintosh's style was influenced by the floral Art Nouveau, Scottish landscapes and simple Japanese forms. He was most recognised for his Rose Motif that has been heavily reproduced in the late 1990's and early 2000's. Macintosh influenced many European designers and his work was highly acclaimed when it was shown at the Vienna Secession Exhibition in 1900.

To find more images of Arts & Craft:



Neo-Georgian The Classical styles became popular at the beginning of the 20th Century and continued to influenced designers until the 1950's. Georgian feature such as symmetrical façades, multi-paned sash windows, dentil mouldings, classical pillars and pediments were often seen.

Edwin Lutyens 1869 – 1944 was a leading 20th century British architect. His early work followed the styles of the Arts & Craft movement but later evolved towards a classical style. Lutyens designed many country houses as well as Castle Drogo and India Gate in Delhi. Lutyns was appointed as architect for the Imperial War Graves Commission after the First World War and designed many memorials.

20's & 30's

The Bauhaus style from Europe was influencing a house style that was plain and stream-lined. Moderne homes were about functionability. Roofs were flat and walls were painted concrete, windows were large and plain.

image 1Art Deco was one of the most dominant styles of the 1920's & 30's. It started as a high art luxurious style but soon became mass produced. Art Deco is often recognised by its repetitive use of zigzags, fan and chevron motifs. Furniture shapes were influenced by industry and technology.

Strong geometric patterns could be found on soft furnishings, wallpapers and home ware. Clarice Cliff ceramics is an example of a popular home ware that used patterns of diamonds and triangles in bold contrasting colours.


Sourcebook of Modern Furniture

The Art Deco House

Miller's 20th-century Design Buyer's Guide