The Friends of the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum
The Friends of the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum
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26 February 2018The Scottish Arts and Crafts Movement
26 March 2018The Women who went to War

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The Scottish Arts and Crafts Movement
Elizabeth Cumming
Monday 26 February 2018

Lecture starts at 7.30pm; doors open at 7pm

Tickets at the door £5 (Friends £4) include tea/coffee and biscuits

Following on from Heather Jack’s talk in September, Elizabeth Cumming explores the wider picture and looks at the Arts and Crafts movement in Scotland from the 1880s to the 1920s. She considers how it may be seen as part of a wider British movement, with English designers such as William Morris contributing to design in ‘North Britain’ and Scots working and exhibiting in London.  However, Scottish Arts and Crafts was more closely linked to the practice of the fine arts, with some of our professional painters designing textiles and stained glass in the early years. In addition, designers were well aware of their country’s inherited traditions: art schools encouraged young designers to respect these as they contributed to the modern age.

Studios and workshops sprang up near art schools, while Arts and Crafts design reached its public through exhibitions and, not least, via the artistic tearoom movement in all Scottish cities and many towns. The homes of the urban well-to-do were stylishly refurnished while new cooperative communities such as the Stirling Homesteads also developed. Finally, consideration is given to church work where traditional and modern ideas also came together and which would serve the nation in its commemoration of the Fallen.

Dr Elizabeth Cumming is an honorary Fellow at the University of Edinburgh and a freelance historian and curator who writes on Scottish art and design since 1870. In a varied career she has been curator of the Edinburgh City Art Centre and a lecturer in design history at Edinburgh College of Art. She began to research the Arts and Crafts movement in the late 1970s while researching the life and work of the artist Phoebe Anna Traquair. Her many publications on Arts and Crafts include The Arts and Crafts Movement (with Wendy Kaplan) in the World of Art series and Hand, Heart and Soul: the Arts and Crafts Movement in Scotland, shortlisted for the Saltire Society’s Research Book of the Year. Over the years she has also written extensively on Scottish painting, especially the Scottish Colourists, and is currently writing a book on the artist Robin Philipson to be published in the autumn.