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The Arts and Crafts Movement

A vision of beauty and social harmony, the Art and Crafts movement was a body of educated artists who wanted to improve society through the medium of art. The result was an organic style that has left a lasting imprint in the Cotswolds region and the world of design.

What was the arts & crafts movement?

The Arts and Crafts movement was born in the late 19th century by writer and artist William Morris in reaction to lack of creativity in decorative arts.

The collective began with a group of friends from Oxford University, Morris, Edward Burne-Jones and others were spurred on by the works of Keats, Shelley and later Ruskin to form a movement that was both radical and romantic. They championed simple, old-fashioned craftsmanship and promoted anti-industrial social reform.

Kelmscott Manor

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When William Morris first laid eyes on Kelmscott it was love at first sight, greatly admiring this ‘’loveliest haunt of ancient peace’. Along with family, friends and colleagues from the Movement, many a summer day would be spent writing and creating pieces of art in this Cotswolds retreat.

Kelmscott Manor is a beautiful 17th-century house on the banks of the River Thames. Its gardens, barns, meadows and dovecote are peaceful and magical – it is easy to see how the place would become such an inspiration to its residents.

The house contains a fascinating collection from the Arts & Crafts Movement by Morris and his famous colleagues. There is furniture, pictures, paintings, ceramics and metalwork that demonstrate the passion and skill of the artists.

CYCLE TOUR STOP: BIBURY

Bibury

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Another place that greatly inspired the works of William Morris was the little Cotswold village of Bibury. This stop on our Pedal England bike tour is always a favourite, as Cotswold villages don’t come much more enchanting.

In fact, William Morris loved Bibury so much when he visited that he described it as ‘the most beautiful village in England’. And with its lovely River Coln and stunning display of Cotswold stone, it’s easy to see why.

Chipping Campden

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This small Cotswold town also has strong links to the Arts & Crafts era and The Guild of Handicraft – an offshoot that promoted communal living and profit sharing through the production of metalwork. In 1902 C.R Ashbee moved his workshop to the Old Saw Mill on Sheep Street. Today, this is Hart’s Silversmiths, the last operating facility of the Guild.

Hidcote Manor and Gardens

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Close to Chipping Campden is the sublime stately home and gardens of Hidcote Manor. The grounds are famous for its intricate ‘room-like’ landscaping and its Arts and Crafts design.

Styled by Lawrence Johnson at the beginning of the 20th century, each small garden is walled off by hedged boarders of rare trees and shrubs, creating the feeling of moving from room to room as you journey about the grounds. Each section contains a different theme, such as the Fuchsia Garden and the White Garden; it is a joy to experience.

The great work of William Morris, the Arts and Crafts Movement and the Guild of Handicraft has left a permanent mark on the art world.

The designs of Morris & Co. are still in production and sold around the globe. Works from the movement can be seen in many homes, churches and establishments throughout the Cotswolds, so keep your eyes peeled.

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Cotswolds Autumn Walking – 4 Day Self-Guided

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Cotswolds Autumn Cycling – 4 Day Guided

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Cotswolds Autumn Cycling – 4 Day Self-Guided

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Cotswolds Autumn Walking Long Weekend – Self-Guided

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Cotswolds Autumn Cycling Long Weekend – Guided

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Cotswolds Autumn Cycling Long Weekend – Guided

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Cotswolds Autumn Cycling Long Weekend – Self-Guided

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Cotswolds Autumn Cycling Long Weekend – Self-Guided

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Cotswolds Autumn Walking – 4 Day Guided

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Cotswolds Autumn Walking – 4 Day Guided

Cotswold Autumn Walking Weekend – Self-Guided Long Routes

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Cotswold Autumn Walking Weekend – Self-Guided Long Routes

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Cotswold Autumn Walking Long Routes – 4 Day Self-Guided

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Cotswold Autumn Walking Long Routes – 4 Day Self-Guided

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Cotswolds Towns & Villages Cycling – 5 Day Guided

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Cotswolds Towns & Villages Cycling – 5 Day Guided

Cotswolds Towns & Villages Cycling – 5 Day Guided

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Cotswolds Towns & Villages Cycling – 5 Day Guided

Devon & Cornwall Cycling – 6 Day Guided

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Devon & Cornwall Cycling – 6 Day Guided

New Forest & Dorset Cycling – 6 Day Guided

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New Forest & Dorset Cycling – 6 Day Guided

Kent Cycling – 6 Day Guided

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Kent Cycling – 6 Day Guided

Classic Cotswolds Cycling – 6 Day Self-Guided

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Classic Cotswolds Cycling – 6 Day Self-Guided

Cotswolds Towns & Villages Cycling – 6 Day Self-Guided

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Cotswolds Towns & Villages Cycling – 6 Day Self-Guided

Cornwall Cycling – 6 Day Self-Guided

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Cornwall Cycling – 6 Day Self-Guided

Conquer the Cotswolds – Self-Guided Cycling Weekend

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Conquer the Cotswolds – Self-Guided Cycling Weekend

Classic Cotswolds Walking – 6 Day Guided

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Classic Cotswolds Walking – 6 Day Guided

Cotswolds Towns & Villages Walking – 5 Day Guided

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Cotswolds Towns & Villages Walking – 5 Day Guided

Devon & Cornwall Walking – 6 Day Guided

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Devon & Cornwall Walking – 6 Day Guided

Cornwall Walking – 6 Day Guided

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Cornwall Walking – 6 Day Guided

New Forest & Dorset Walking – 6 Day Guided

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New Forest & Dorset Walking – 6 Day Guided