Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society

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(established 1888)

For about twenty years the Society was an important advocate for the ideals of the Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain, having been formed at a time when theoretical debates about art, craft, and possible relationships with industrial production were beginning to sharpen. Although the Society's exhibitions were regularly mounted in Britain from 1888, they also participated at international exhibitions overseas, including Turin in 1902, St Louis in 1904, and Ghent in 1913. Key figures involved with the Society in its early years included its first president Walter Crane, W. A. S. Benson, Lewis F. Day, J. D. Sedding, Heywood Sumner, and Selwyn Image. There were also a number of publications that disseminated the Society's outlook. The most important of these were Arts and Crafts Essays by Members of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society (1893) and a second book of essays entitled Handicrafts and Reconstruction (1919), the contributors to which included Lethaby and Benson. The Society also published a periodical entitled Arts and Crafts Quarterly (1919–20), its brief existence coinciding with a diminution of its influence in the face of competition from such organizations as the Design and Industries Association and the British Institute of Industrial Art.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.

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