10 Apr 2021
April 21, 2011 - Filed under: Antiques News,History of Antiques — David

Lancashire and Cumbria residents with an eye for beauty are in for a treat if they visit the V & A museum in London. A new exhibition, “The Cult of Beauty,” has just opened, covering the decorative art and furniture of the Aesthetic Movement.

If you want a comfortable place to sit, you probably wouldn’t choose one of William Morris’ notoriously uncomfortable Victorian dining chairs . Yet Cumbria Morris, along with other Aesthetic designers like Edward Burne-Jones and H. Bailey Scott, had a strong connection to the region, designing and transforming the interiors of numerous churches and houses.

Morris ushered in the age of Arts & Crafts furniture through his links to the Aesthetic Movement. Now, visitors from Cumbria can see antique chests and other furniture from the period – as well as art works by the likes of Burne-Jones, Whistler and Rossetti – at the V & A exhibition, which runs until July. Textiles, wallpapers, and stained glass from the Morris studios will also be on display.

The “art for arts sake” approach of the Aesthetic Movement took dour Industrial England back to a Golden Age of chivalrous knights and dewy damsels – a Gothic fantasy which existed only in their imaginations. While some furniture was heavily decorated, the effect was sometimes more subtle – as with E.W.Godwin’s Gothic Reform Victorian dining chairs, which Lancashire antique dealers sometimes have for sale.

If you can’t get to the V & A to see Godwin’s furniture on display, antique dealers in towns like Preston have Victorian dining chairs, antique chests and other furniture with the same unique Aesthetic signature.

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