Arts & Crafts
The Arts and Crafts Movement began in Britain around 1880 and quickly spread to America, Europe and Japan. Inspired by the ideas of John Ruskin and William Morris, it advocated a revival of traditional handicrafts, a return to a simpler way of life and an improvement in the design of ordinary domestic objects. In 2005, the V&A hosted the exhibition 'International Arts and Crafts'.
Art Nouveau was a movement in the visual arts popular from the early 1890s up to the First World War. It is viewed by some as the first self-conscious attempt to create a modern style. Its influence can be found in painting, sculpture, jewellery, metalwork, glass and ceramics.The drawings of Aubrey Beardsley, the architecture of Victor Horta and Paul Hankar and the poster designs of Alphonse Mucha are some of the most familiar examples of the Art Nouveau style.
Wallpaper design reform
Pugin's principle of historical authenticity in the design of ornament, and his belief that only flat patterns should adorn flat surfaces, became the fundamental tenets of the design reform movement. In the 1850s these ideas were promoted through the Government's Schools of Design in South Kensington, and by several individuals connected with them: the painter Richard Redgrave, Principal of the School; Sir Henry Cole, a civil servant, and later the V&A's first Director; and Owen Jones, a leading designer and architect.
The Victorian vision of China and Japan
The myth of the exotic East has always been a potent one in the West, fuelling such images as Coleridge's 'stately pleasure domes'. By the time Victoria came to the throne in 1837, however, the romantic yearning to penetrate hidden worlds was being superseded by a desire to reach the apparently enormous, but hitherto untouched, markets of East Asia. With the 'opening' of China and Japan fantasies met with realities and new mythologies and stereotypes of the East were constructed.