The English style movement termed ‘The Arts & Crafts Movement’ is seen to have been developed as a backlash against the rise of heavy industry and mass market production of the late Victorian period.
This type of mass marketing where each item was exactly the same as the other, devalued the production of individual artisans who took great care in their work and produced one off items of artistic merit created by craftspeople rather than by massive industrialised factories.
 Members of this design movement were also trying to lift the standards of design evident in the last half of the nineteenth century – from around 1850 onwards.
As early as 1836 the government of the day had issued an official report concerned with the decline of British design and how it had been badly effected by industry. The complaint seemed to be that late Victorian design was over producing items which were over-worked and too ornate.  This was the general consensus of opinion by the time the Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1851 was held.
With regards to jewellery making – mass production had found its place in jewellery of the 1800’s  which was made with the help of machines such as lathes, but still the better jewellery was often hand finished.
Whilst the English Arts & Crafts movement focused on hand made items, it was equally important for them to find a new English style of design.
Most people have heard of William Morris and this man was considered by many to be the spearhead and catalyst for the creation of the English Arts & Crafts movement.  Morris fell under the influence of teaching by John Ruskin as well as the well known Gothic architect, A W Pugin.  Ruskin supported Pugin who professed that craftsmen  should be masters of their own business and their own fate, rather than simply a cog in a giant industrialised machine.  

John Ruskin also suggested that a return to the Middle Age system of Guilds would highly benefit English design and craftsmen alike.
William Morris held a fondness and fascination for medieval times from a very young age.  It is hardly surprising then that he would be the catalyst for a new design movement which would use concepts from the past to create new designs.

 
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