Art Styles in the Industrial 19th Century
Art, Technology, & Industry
Art Styles in 19th century -
As the 19th century progressed, so did methods for reproducing
images using various photographic techniques and new printing
systems. A vast number of copies of any publication could now be
made available and the dissemination of ideas, styles,
and tastes widened and quickened.
The Industrial Revolution, which had started in England and spread to
Germany and much of the rest of Europe during the 19th century, brought
new developments in the manufacture of everyday, utilitarian objects and
in the field of artistic endeavour. The changing face of society also
exerted an influence, with the rise of a dynamic and entrepreneurial
middle class set to replace the vanished patronage of the church and
aristocracy. Rapid advances in technology and new machine tools were
essential to the manufacture of consumer goods and massproduced objects.
Henry Cole (1808-82). one of the organizers of the Great Exhibition of
1851, was among the first to appreciate the necessity of forging close
links between art and industry. He was instrumental in ensuring that the
exhibits, which came from all over Europe, the East, and the US,
included manufactured products that were fine examples of art and
design. The innovations in industry also led to the development of
photography. For the first time, visible reality could be capttired and
reproduced, so that a moment in time could be frozen forever.
Charles Robert Ashbee,
Silver Bowl, Guild of Handicraft,
and Albert Museum, London.
Here decoration and industrial design are
The Arts and Crafts Movement and the Origins of Design
The English writer, artist, and social reformer
(1834-96) believed that it was the duty of the new industrial
society to develop a fresh, far-reaching aesthetic sense and to be
mindful of the value of cultivating the decorative arts. Writing in
The Arts and Crafts of Today, published in 1889.
that if art were not applied to everyday objects, products would not
only have no meaning, but there would also be a gradual
deterioration of the human race if life became purely material and
spiritually empty. The effects of the aesthetic measures advocated
by Morris would lead to the re-evaluation of the decorative arts as
an inescapable part of a person's environment. It would also lead to
an awareness of design in the manufacture of household goods for a
vast number of consumers. With Morris at its head, the
Crafts Movement was at the
vanguard of stressing the importance of aesthetic awareness in the
machine age. Morris's cultural aims were also espoused by the other
members of the group. The English architect and designer Charles
Robert Ashbee (1863-1942), who founded the Guild and School of
Handicrafts in London in 1888, maintained that constructive and
decorative arts were the true backbone of every artistic culture.
Meanwhile, the designer and illustrator
Walter Crane (1845-1915),
author of the didactic collection Lines and Outlines (1875).
asserted that crafts were the true origins and bases of all the
arts. Arthur Mackmurdo (1851-1942), a Scottish architect and
designer based in England, initiated the Century Guild and, in
1884, founded the movement's journal Hobby Horse. In his conception
of design, particularly graphic printing. Mackmurdo anticipated the
style of the Art Nouveau movement. The expansion of new and faster
forms of transport (notably, the advent of the railways and faster,
powered sea travel) led to a boom in international trade, which
industrialized production was able to satisfy, and which the
international exhibitions did much to promote. It was at this
juncture that the earliest signs of functional aestheticism could be
detected in industrial production. This was to prove highly
influential during the 20th century, especially in Austria and
Germany through the ideas expounded by the Werkbund and Bauhaus
movements. The processing techniques of traditional and new
materials were updated in order to achieve a simplification of
objects intended for evervdav use.
The evolution of the forms of such objects was linked to the
perfection of mechanical processes, which also took into account the
cost of the finished article. In 1892, the designer Lewis Day
(1845-1910) wrote that whether people liked it or not, machinery and
steam and electrical power might well have some part to play in the
decorative arts of the future.
Swans, rush and Irises
Flowers and animals were the most common decorative elements of this
(b London, 12 Dec 1851; d Wickham Bishops, Essex, 15 March
English architect and social reformer. He was an important figure in the
Arts and Crafts Movement. He trained as an architect first with T.
Chatfield Clarke (1825–95) and then with the Gothic Revivalist James
Brooks. He was greatly influenced by John Ruskin (they travelled to
Italy together in 1874), particularly on social and economic issues.
Mackmurdo believed that his work should be socially as well as
artistically significant. In design he valued tradition but sought a
contemporary relevance, and he promoted the unity of the arts, with
architecture as the central discipline. By 1884 he had moved away from
the Gothic Revival style and adopted an eclectic use of Renaissance
sources. Some of his designs have been described as proto-Art Nouveau
and are thought to have influenced the emergence of this style in
architecture and the applied arts in Britain and Europe in the 1890s and
1900s. His pattern designs for wallpaper and textiles incorporated
swirling organic motifs (e.g. Cromer Bird, cretonne, c.
1884), while for three-dimensional and architectural work he often used
a simplified version of classicism derived from English 18th-century
sources. Brooklyn, a small, flat-roofed house (c. 1886; Private
Road, Enfield, London), was designed in an austere and simple
rationalized classical style in which the logic of constructional
methods was emphasized in a way that heralds the work of architects such
as C. F. A. Voysey.
Arthur H. Mackmurdo
Wren's City Churches
Arthur H. Mackmurdo
Title page to The Hobby Horse
This was the
journal of the Century Guild, founded by Mackmurdo in 1884
Gottlieb August Pohle,
drawing for an adjustable writing desk,
Osterreichisches Museum fur angewandte Kunst, Vienna
see also collections:
The Pre-Raphaelites -
William Morris - designer
WILLIAM MORRIS AND THE DECORATIVE ARTS
In his numerous writings on the relationship between art and the new
society, William Morris
stated his case as a supporter of the
expansion of the applied arts by exploiting some of the new
techniques originally introduced for industrial production.
maintained that it was important to dispense with the arbitrary
distinctions between "fine arts" and "useful arts", which had been
accepted in the Romantic period, and to recapture the link between
visual expression and the use of suitable materials and skills that
had been present in the Gothic and Renaissance eras. In 1861
Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co., which specialized in
decorative work. Among the partners in the company were the
Pre-Raphaelites Edward Burne-Jones,
Ford Madox Brown,
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and the architect Philip Webb.
is best known for
the chintzes and wallpapers that he designed between 1872 and 1896.
They were instantly recognizable for their intertwined floral
motifs, vine shoots, and leaves arranged in diagonal and scrolled
patterns. According to the scholar Peter Floud, composition of the
elements in Morris's designs can be classified into four distinct
phases: free arrangement of various types of flowers (1872—76);
symmetrical repetition along vertical axes (1876-83); motifs
arranged along continuous diagonals (1883-90); and the alternation
of scrolled naturalistic detail on dark backgrounds (1890-96). The
exhibitions, organized from 1888 onwards by the Arts and Crafts
Exhibition Society, promoted a design philosophy that reinterpreted
the world of useful, everyday objects (furniture, materials, rugs,
and other household furnishings). In 1890,
founded the Kelmscott Press at Hammersmith, extending his ideas to typography by
adapting historical models for his typefaces (Golden, Troy, and
Chaucer) and for his decorative initials and borders.
green dining room interior, commissioned by the Victoria
and Albert Museum, London.
Art and Printing Techniques
During the 19th century, changes in printing technology had a great
influence on publications linked with the arts, including engraving,
etching, lithography and chromolithography, reproductions of works
of art, and illustrated guides to ornamentation and costume. A
variety of materials reflected these advances: books, magazines,
periodicals, catalogues, and advertising posters, mostly
intended for mass consumption. The process of lithography had been
invented by Aloys Senefelder in 1798, when he succeeded in
transferring onto paper an image that he had drawn in greasy ink on
a special kind of limestone. Francisco Goya (1746-1828) was
attracted by the immediacy of the effect produced by lithography and
was among the first artists to make use of it. In 1819, in Madrid,
he created his first lithograph of an old woman spinning, entitled
La riefa hilanclera, followed, during his years in Bordeaux
(1824-28), by some large lithographs of bullfighting scenes - Los
tows de Bunleos. Many 19th-century artists followed in
footsteps and experimented with the expressive possibilities of the
new medium of lithography. Among them were
Theodore Gericault with
his Chevaux dans leurs ecuries (1819) and his 13 English
lithographs (1821); Eugene Delacroix with his Hamlet collection
(1834-43): Edouard Manet with his famous Les Courses
(1864) and Rendezvous de chats (1868); and
Auguste Renoir with
Mile Dieterle (1892). From 1885 onwards,
300 lithographs; Pierre Bonnard created lithographs for book
illustrations, as well as his famous Femme au Parapluie (1896); and
Edouard Vuilliard produced a collection of lithographs entitled
Paysages et interieurs (1899). Other artists to work in this medium
included Paul Cezanne,
Edgar Degas, and
Gauguin. The new lithographic technique did not prevent continued
interest and improvement in older graphic-techniques, such as
etching, which had been practised by artists since the early 16th
century. In 1765, designer and book illustrator Jean Baptiste Le
Prince invented the aquatint - repeated etchings over a porous
ground that produce a wide range of tonal effects.
Artists exploited and promoted significant advances in these graphic
techniques, and this led to the development of a branch of
publishing specializing in illustrated books of exceptional quality.
They often took the form of special editions of highly prized
literary works, republished with the creative contributions of
artists whose aim was to translate the writer's expressiveness into
rich and immediate images. Examples include
illustrations for Dante's Divine Comedy (1824- 27);
Beardsley's illustrations for Oscar Wilde's Salome (1894);
Klinger's illustrations for Brahms's works, in which the musical
score is introduced into the field of iconographic representation;
and the series of illustrations by
Odilon Redon, produced in three
versions, for Gustave Flaubert's La Tentation de Saint Antoine
(1874). Gustave Dore (1832-83), the most outstanding of the great
19th-century illustrators, brought to life the imaginary world
evoked by the great European literary masterpieces, such as
Cervantes's Don Quixote (1862) and Perrault's fairy tales (1862). The
many advances in printing techniques and the simplified insertion of
illustrations into books meant that there was a huge increase in the
number of illustrated books, children's titles, and themed
collections of prints devoted to particular subjects. New
developments revived the ancient craft of silk-screen printing, in
which silk or another suitable fabric was "painted" with the design
to be stencilled and stretched on a rigid frame; successive stencils
each marked out areas of different colours. In its updated form,
this technique was widely used in industry and by artists.
The Twenty-four Elders Place Their Crown Before the Throne of God
Tate Gallery, London.
The prints of Blake's illustrations were to influence and inspire the work
of many "visionary" 19th-century painters.
Printed notices to inform the public of political events, legal
matters, judicial sentences, plays, concerts, and entertainments had
been a feature of city life for centuries. During the 19th century,
a great many technological innovations combined to create a success
story: the advertising poster. The introduction of new printing
procedures, such as lithography (1798), and the improved forms of
presses used in the 1830s were particularly important.
Following the earliest chromo-lithographic experiments in black and
white, the French artist Jules Cheret (1836-1932) perfected
the use and effectiveness of the process, printing large numbers of
polychrome posters from 1866 onwards.
Cheret's pictures were often
constructed around a central nucleus, with the internal dynamism of
the composition emphasized by effective combinations of colours.
Large publicity posters had a very strong pictorial attraction and
minimal but bold lettering. Among the artists who experimented with
this new method of graphic reproduction was
(1841-1917), whose designs had fluid outlines, that resembled his
stained glass. Meanwhile,
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)
concentrated his efforts, especially from 1891 onwards, on finding a
new language for the poster. In his most famous posters (the Moulin
Rouge, Divan Japonais, and Aristide Bruant of 1893), the attention
of the observer is captured by the boldness of the picture, the
clear outlines of the figures, the warmth and brightness of the
flat-toned colours, and the contrast between black and paler colours
or white, Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) was another celebrated and
prolific poster artist, who createc his first poster design in 1892.
In contrast with Toulouse-Lautrec, he was able to achieve an unusual
harmony between his linear drawings and decorative patterns. His
female figures, often taken from posed photographs, are surrounded
by frames and borders of intertwined Hispano-Moorish motifs and by
materials reminiscent of Japanese woodcuts.
A Bill-poster's Fantasy
Salon des Cent, poster
Anis del Mono,
This colourful advertisement for a Spanish liqueur employed the new printing
technologies of the day.
The introduction of colours in the lithographic process, known as
chromolithography, came about in 1837. This meant that colour
printing could now be applied to large surfaces. Once this new
process had been perfected, a new type of advertising picture, the
poster, was launched with resounding success. The newly discovered
means of image reproduction - lithography, chromolithography and,
subsequently, photography - can most certainly be considered the
forerunners of modern advertising methods. The poster, one of the
19th century's most widely and frequently used publicity tools, was
fully able to satisfy the need for mass communication. It invited
the observer's perceptual and emotional involvement, which was often
intensified by the repeated use of the same message all over towns
In the 17th and 18th centuries, developments in printing and
engraving technology had meant that the Western world's figurative
culture could be disseminated throughout Europe. In the 19th
century, colour reproductions of paintings, townscapes and
cityscapes, and photographs of particularly attractive subjects
proved very popular. Another popular Victorian product was the
oleograph, produced by coating a lithographed print with a pigmented
oily varnish. When dry, it was processed with an embossing roller in
order to imitate the visual effect of an oil painting's canvas.
The Graphic Arts
Printing and publishing underwent tremendous changes during the 19th
century. Advances in typographical technology and distribution
systems, as well as a general reduction in costs, meant that nearly
all printed matter was now within the reach of the general public.
Nicolas-Louis Robert had made a significant contribution to this
progress when he introduced the first machine for the "mechanical"
production of paper in 1798. Another invention developed
commercially at the beginning of the 19th century was stereotyping.
A mould was made by pouring plaster of Paris over a page of type and
leaving it to set; molten metal could then be poured over the face
of the mould in a casting box. Further development of this technique
led to papier mache being substituted for plaster to form the
matrix, or ''mat". The most revolutionary innovation, however, came
in the form of Friedrich Koenig's steam-powered printing machine of
1811 and its successors. On the old hand-operated press, the maximum
production was 300 copies an hour, but with the new equipment this
could easily be increased to 1,000. Printing became even faster in
1828 with the introduction of the sophisticated four-cylinder press,
developed by Augustus Applegath and Edward Cowper, which could print
4.000 copies an hour. Printing presses were not alone in benefiting
from new technology. Even bookbinding was increasingly mechanized,
and in the 1830s the first books with separate cloth-covered cases
blocked in gold appeared. The sewn book could now be trimmed using
another newly introduced device, the guillotine. The ensuing
increase in printed matter prompted Friedrich Gottlob Keller to
invent a machine for grinding wood pulp for making paper. This was
to the great economic advantage of publishers of newspapers,
catalogues, and other publications with large print runs.
Despite the continual modernization of mechanical processes and raw
materials for printing - vital for the growth of publishing and the
spread of information in Europe and the US - one problem remained
unsolved in the mid-19th century. This was the most crucial phase of
the printing procedure: composing text. The first truly reliable
composing machines were built in 1866 (Robert Hattersley's machine)
and in 1869 (Charles Kastenbein's system). Although these machines
brought type together, the time-consuming work of adjusting the line
length still had to be done by hand. Only when Ottmar Mergenthaler's
Linotype machines came into use (they were first installed at the
New York Tribune in 1886). followed by Tolbert Lanston's Monotype
machines, did the composition of text and line justification finally
become automatic processes.
Rotary printing, cutting and stacking machine engraving,
1866, United States.
The introduction of automation was instrumental in
Penny Black and Two-pence Blue, 1840.
Postage stamps were introduced in
England following Rowland Hill's reform of the postal service.
The creation of a modern publishing industry moved a step nearer
with the introduction of printed illustrations.
The leading daily newspapers had provided pictures for their readers
since 1840, when the daguerreotype process came into use. In the
early days, periodicals like the Illustrated London News or
Illustration made use of the services of teams of sketchers, who
were sent with journalists to create illustrations for news stories.
Among the most successful caricatures and cartoons were those by
Gustave Dore, and
Gavarni for La Caricature
(1830-34) and Le Charivari (1832-1926), satirical reviews that were
imitated all over Europe. Daumier's prolific output of drawings,
satirizing contemporary fashions and the political and social scene,
were outstandingly effective. The task of faithfully reproducing
such drawings and using engraving techniques to prepare the wooden
blocks for printing was entrusted to a team of engravers on the
permanent staff of the newspapers' headquarters. Towards the end of
the century, with the advent of collodion (a colourless liquid of
pyroxylin in ether and alcohol), glass plates were used in cameras,
so the engraving could be carried out directly from the original
with a great saving in time. In 1850, Hippolyte Fizeau first
experimented with etching a plate with a daguerreotype for printing.
Better results, however, were obtained with the so-called "flat-bed"
processes, which were used in the following years by Rose-Joseph
Lemercier and Alphonse Poitevin to reproduce photographs with
typographical inks. The Woodburytype was patented by Walter Bentley
Woodbury in 1864 for reproduction by the photoglyptic method, and
although the resulting images were exceptionally clear and faithful
to the originals, inking was a manual process that proved far too
laborious and time-consuming for newspapers and periodicals. Quality
printing on such surfaces as newsprint could be achieved only by
using relief plates; Firmin Gillot, Charles Negre, and Edouard
Baldus all came to this conclusion between 1853 and 1856.
Among the photo-mechanical printing processes, screen printing of
images proved particularly important. This was first introduced in
1870 by William Leggo and was followed in 1878 by the introduction
of similigravure, a halftone printing technique developed by Charles Guillaume Petit. The first example of reproduction of photographs
in newspapers dates
from when Georg Meisenbach put to use the process he had developed
and patented under the name of autotype. Further advances in the
halftone printing of photographs had to wait until improved forms of
screen were introduced. After 1880 a large number of illustrated
periodicals were published, especially in the UK, Germany, France,
and the US. The various titles were aimed at a vast readership,
and publications that aimed mainly to inform and educate were soon
joined by specialized periodicals exploiting the communicative power
of photographic images. The introduction of the postage stamp gave
rise to a great deal of research into graphic techniques, including
gravure and letter-press. The first stamps were issued in England in
1840. starting with the penny black and two-pence blue series,
designed by H. Corbould and printed by C. & F. Heath. Both showed
Queen Victoria's head.
Nadar elevant la photographie a la
hauteur de l'art
Lithograph from Souvenirs d'Artistes,
appearing in Le
May 25, 1863.
Hosannah! Voici les Osanores!
The great French draughtsman and engraver was more celebrated for his
classic book illustrations
(such as those for the works of Rabelais, Perrault, Balzac, Cervantes,
Dante, and Ariosto)
than for his humorous prints of social criticism.