This book is the first to look at the development of the Arts and Crafts movement in the Lake District. The movement flourished there for a brilliant decade at the beginning of the twentieth century. The houses created by some of Britain’s leading architects are arguably among the most beautiful family homes ever built and were fitted out with perfectionist eyes for craftsmanship. The authors document and describe these unique houses showing how architects and clients worked together to make the most of the Lakeland settings and adapt to the vernacular styles and crafts of the Lakes. Blackwells, Broadleys and Moor Crag by Voysey and Baillie Scott are well known but there are a host of other remarkable buildings and interiors that are now hotels or regularly open their doors to visitors. Specially commissioned photographs show the houses in their setting and the detail – tiles, carving, plasterwork and ironware – of their interiors.The introduction explaining the lure of the Lake District as a holiday destination for wealthy northern industrialists is followed by a chapter describing how and where the lake or hillside sites for their houses were chosen. There follows what is effectively a summation of the architects and their houses, taking each and their interior fittings in turn. The artefacts and craftsmen and women involved with the decoration are then given a chapter as is the lifestyle of the families who enjoyed these houses and the leisure pursuits found all around them. The brief conclusion wonders what the legacy of these houses may be and whether they can have worthy successors. Matthew Hyde is an architectural historian and author of the recent Pevsner volume on the Buildings of Cumbria. Esmé Whittaker is on the staff at English Heritage. She hails from the Lake District and her doctoral thesis was a ground-breaking study on the much admired work of Dan Gibson. Val Corbett is well known as a landscape photographer based in the Lake District.
After three years in depth research, Dr Esmé Whittaker completed her PhD, The Arts and Crafts House in the Lake District: Buildings, Landscapes and Communities, at the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2010. She has lectured widely on this subject including a paper for the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain symposium in 2008 which was published as the chapter 'Self-Conscious Regionalism: Dan Gibson and the Arts and Crafts House in the Lake District' in Built from Below: British architecture and the vernacular edited by Peter Guillery (Routledge, 2010). More recently she has given lectures at the Edwin Lutyens study day at Great Dixter (2010) and at Blackwell: the Arts and Crafts House (2011). As a native Cumbrian, she is passionate about the architecture of her home region and keen that this unique branch of the Arts and Crafts movement gets the attention it deserves.
Dr Whittaker is an Assistant Curator in the Word & Image Department at the Victoria and Albert Museum. She was the Assistant Curator for their Spring 2011 exhibition The Cult of Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement 1860-1900. She contributed the focus piece ‘Leighton and Aitchison’ to the accompanying book (V&A Publishing, 2011) and wrote V&A Pattern: Walter Crane (V&A Publishing, 2011). She has recently curated the exhibition William Morris: Story, Memory, Myth at Two Temple Place, London, and wrote the accompanying catalogue.
Matthew Hyde is the author of the new Pevsner for Cumbria (2010), and joint author with Clare Hartwell of Lancashire: Manchester and the South East (2004) and Cheshire (2011). Cumbria was the fruit of four years' intensive fieldwork and scholarship, and the book puts the architectural heritage of Cumbria on a new footing. Three episodes stand out: the very early crosses, the border wars started by Edward I, and the Lake District villas – particularly those of around 1900. His special interest in the villas goes back to an MA thesis (Keele 1992) on J.S. Crowther of Manchester and Windermere, which explored the architectural, social and cultural links between the industrial northwest and the Lake District. The Villas of Alderley Edge (1999) took up the Cheshire end of the story, as did A Window on Knutsford (2000) with its essay on the extraordinary Arts and Crafts houses created by Richard Harding Watt.
Matthew has also worked extensively in education and adult teaching, specialising in hands-on work out of doors and in the Manchester museums and galleries. He comes from a line of writers, artists and craftspeople, and has a practical understanding of woodwork, gilding and stained glass.
Val Corbett has been a freelance photographer for 20 years. Her garden photographs appear regularly in national magazines such as English Garden and Country Life. Gardens of the Lake District by Tim Longville, with photographs by Val Corbett (Frances Lincoln) won the 2008 Lakeland Book of the Year Award.
To find out more about Val Corbett click here
'Much has been written about Arts and Crafts architecture in general, and domestic design in particular, but this book is a strong addition to the canon and will be especially appealing to those who know and appreciate both the natural and built heritage of the Lake District.’
Book of the Month
‘Magnificent and beautiful book.’
‘These extraordinary houses are shown in the beauty of their setting, their construction and their exquisite detailing. The reader will look at them with new eyes.’