Aestheticism

Found throughout the Museum

Plan a visit

From 1860 to 1900, a group of artists, architects and designers in Britain found themselves united in the search for a new beauty. The Aesthetic Movement aimed to create a new kind of art, an art freed from outworn establishment ideas and Victorian notions of morality. This was to be 'Art for Art's sake' – art that didn't tell stories or make moral points, art that dared simply to offer visual delight and hint at sensuous pleasure.

Collection Highlights

screen
Screen, designed by William Eden Nesfield, made by James Forsyth, 1867, London, England
vase
Vases, designed by Edward William Godwin and William Watt, about 1877, England
watercolour
An Open Book, watercolour, by Albert Moore, about 1884, London, England
brooch and hair ornaments in case
Brooch and hair ornaments, designed by Carlo Giuliano, 1885, London, England
teapot
Teapot, designed by Christopher Dresser, made by James Dixon and Sons, about 1879, Sheffield, England
oil painting
Mrs Luke Ionides (1848-1929), oil painting, by William Blake Richmond, 1882, Britain
drawing
Siegfried, Act II, drawing, by Aubrey Vincent Beardsley, about 1892 – 93, England
songsheet cover
Quite too Utterly Utter, songsheet cover, by Alfred Concanen, printed by Stannard & Son, about 1881, Britain
wallpaper design
Fruit, wallpaper design, designed by William Morris and Philip Webb, 1862, London. England
furnishing fabric
Peacock Feathers, furnishing fabric, designed by Arthur Silver, made for Liberty & Co., 1887, London, England
plate
Plate, made by Brown-Westhead, Moore & Co., about 1875 – 85, Cauldron, England
Design for a book cover
Design for a book cover for Oscar Wilde's The Sphinx, by Charles Ricketts, 1884, Britain
vase
The Day Dream, oil painting, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1880, England
vase
Vase, made by Elkington & Co., 1876, Birmingham, England

Features

Background image: Swan, Rush and Iris, design for wallpaper, Walter Crane, 1875, England. Museum no. E.17-1945. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London