The Art Workers’ Guild

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History

The Guild was founded in 1884 by young architects and designers who wanted to create a meeting place for the fine arts and the applied arts on an equal footing. Many of the prominent figures of the Arts and Crafts Movement were active in the first fifty years. The Guild operated like a club, but its principle of ‘learning by doing’ soon spread through art education and had a worldwide influence.

Work by past and present Guild members can be seen all over Britain, in houses, churches and everyday objects. It has represented traditional skills when they might have disappeared, but it has always maintained a dialogue with modern design. Its values include serving clients’ needs in commissioned work rather than insisting on artistic autonomy, and collaboration between artists and designers in different fields, especially in the embellishment of buildings.