Arts and Crafts at the National Archives

'Poppyland' furniture fabric registered by Liberty, February 1904 (BT 50/536/427344). Image courtesy National Archives

‘Poppyland’ furniture fabric registered by Liberty, February 1904 (BT 50/536/427344). Image courtesy National Archives

The Arts and Crafts style, beginning with William Morris and his contemporaries in the mid 19th Century, has endured for over 150 years. In fact just a few days ago the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow was named as the winner of the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2013, highlighting how much interest there still is in the Arts and Crafts movement and its characteristic style. 

'Almond Blossom and Swallow' wallpaper sample designed by Walter Crane, registered by Jeffrey & Co, July 1878 (BT 43/102/323809). Image courtesy National Archives

‘Almond Blossom and Swallow’ wallpaper sample designed by Walter Crane, registered by Jeffrey & Co, July 1878 (BT 43/102/323809). Image courtesy National Archives

As such the National Archives have written a fascinating blog post about the Arts and Crafts design highlights in their own collection. e hold records of designs registered for copyright with the Board of Trade and successor departments between 1839 and 1991, including samples and original designs by Morris & Co, as well as many registrations of designs by Liberty. Records from 1842 to 1883 are in BT 43(representations – drawings, paintings, photographs or samples of the design) and BT 44 (registers). These series have been catalogued by item, and are searchable online by registered design number, proprietor, date, address and (sometimes) description of object. See our online guide for more information about registered designs. These records form an absolutely outstanding resource for artists and designers. 

See the National Archives blog for more information. The annual Liberty Arts and Crafts Exhibition is also currently underway. 

'Anemone' furniture fabric design registered by Morris & Co, February 1876 (BT 43/372/298226). Image courtesy National Archives

‘Anemone’ furniture fabric design registered by Morris & Co, February 1876 (BT 43/372/298226). Image courtesy National Archives

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