The Arts and Crafts Movement in Surrey. A cottage by Sir Edwin Lutyens at Munstead.

William De Morgan tile. Click to visit the Demorgan centre.

Hand, Heart & Soul - The Arts and Crafts Movement in Scotland

The exhibition Hand, Heart and Soul: The Arts and Crafts Movement in Scotland was grant aided by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation through their Regional Museums Initiative.

Following the initial exhibition at City Art Centre, Edinburgh (June to September 2007), it travelled to  Millennium Galleries, Sheffield (October to January 2008) and finally to Aberdeen Art Gallery (June to August 2008).

The exhibition curator, Dr Elizabeth Cumming, has kindly provided the exhibition guide and texts of the exhibit labels which are reproduced on these pages. ACMS are very pleased to be able to provide a repository for this information to make it accessible to all with an interest in the Arts and Crafts Movement in Scotland.

The book Hand, Heart and Soul: The Arts and Crafts Movement in Scotland by Elizabeth Cumming has been recently reissued.

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Hand, Heart and Soul - exhibition guideHand, Heart and Soul looked at Arts and Crafts practice across Scotland between 1880 and 1939. More than 300 objects in a wide variety of media - from jewellery to furniture, ceramics and glass, textiles to architectural designs - were assembled from public and private collections. Some items were familiar, many others (and their designers) were new discoveries. Arranged through six thematic sections, the show presented fascinating facets of the movement from the design or decoration of buildings to studio crafts. Together they provided fresh insight into life and identity a century ago.

The story of the Arts and Crafts movement in Scotland is one of friendships, families and networks of art workers, architects and designer-craftsmen and women, all committed to the restoration of beauty to everyday life in the industrial age. At heart it was a middle-class city movement with its base in art schools and shared exhibitions. Arts and Crafts was an ideology which embraced modernity and progress but also the romance of the past. Part of the British movement, Scottish Arts and Crafts reflected and encouraged national dreams.

Scotland had contributed to the early formulation of the movement's ideas. In the 1820s the essayist and historian Thomas Carlyle had criticised the spiritual emptiness of the new 'mechanical age'. John Ruskin, a Victorian writer of Scots ancestry, emphasised the beauty of old, traditional handcraft and its pleasure for both maker and user. His writings, rooted firmly in the Presbyterian tradition, were influential internationally but nowhere more than in Scotland where the moral duty of the individual to society was strong.

The exhibition comprised 6 sections, details of these may be seen on the following pages:

A: North Britain
As part of Great Britain, Scotland enjoyed a cultural dialogue with England.

bB: Raising the Standard
Early Arts and Crafts practice throughout Britain was often committed to improving the lot of society.

cC: Art and Craft
Towards 1890, art drew ever closer to craft.

dD: Houses for Art Lovers
Although Arts and Crafts homes were built in each city, the most remarkable examples arose in the countryside far beyond the reach of urban uniformity.

EE: Craft and Community
Working in close association brought a collective identity to studio crafts.

FF: The Ministry of the Beautiful
In an age of prosperity, church design brought together architects with artists in stained glass, metalwork and textiles.

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Text and images copyright © 2007-13 City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries/ Dr Elizabeth Cumming, except where noted.

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