John Ruskin and the Lakeland Arts Revival 1880-1920

by Sarah E. Haslam

Between about 1880 and the end of the First World War there was a widespread and multi-faceted revival in traditional handcrafts in the Lake District. Inspired initially by the teachings of John Ruskin, pioneers such as Albert Fleming, Marian Twelves, and Hardwicke and Edith Rawnsley established workshops in Keswick, Kendal and elsewhere to produce textiles (especially linen and lace), woodwork and metalwork made by hand by local craftsmen and women. Their output found a ready market both locally and nationally and formed the basis of a series of highly successful art exhibitions, notably those at Kendal in 1891 and 1899.

The Lakeland arts revival has hitherto been neglected by writers more concerned with national developments in this period, or else wrongly regarded as part of the Arts and Crafts Movement, whereas it developed earlier and independently, springing from essentially local roots.

This new study, based on the author's Manchester University Ph.D. thesis, for the first time gives proper weight to the Lakeland revival and rescues a number of important figures from undeserved obscurity. The book also sets the revival of handcrafts in the wider context of the arts in the Lake District, in a period in which W.G. Collingwood, C.F.A. Voysey, T.H. Mawson and Beatrix Potter were active in the region.

Fully illustrated with some 50 black and white plates, this is a book which will interest all those who care about the unique heritage of the Lake District as well as historians of art, craft and design, and students of the life and work of John Ruskin.

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288 pp + approx 50 mono plates

ISBN 1 898937 60 5