The Arts & Crafts movement in England was initiated by William Morris during the 1870's. The influence of his designs rapidly spread across Europe and North America and played a key role in shaping the creative life of Great Britain. The distinctive style of antique Arts & Crafts rugs and carpets are defined and characterized by serpentine curvilinear and naturalistic floral patterns executed in a rich, dense palette. Rebelling against their rigid Victorian backgrounds, and the dehumanizing mechanization of the Industrial Age, proponents of the Arts & Crafts movement sought to re-establish the link between the artist and the craftsman, and art and industry. During the late 19th century Donegal (Ireland) became known for its fashionable Art Nouveau style rugs, designed by such individuals as C F A Voysey and Alexander Morton. Take a look at the finest Irish Donegal rugs below.
Adhering to the principals of the Arts & Crafts movement, the work of these artisans ranges in style from the Persian-inspired to the proto-modernist. The Hammersmith carpets of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century epitomize the golden age of British carpet weaving and Arts & Crafts rug weaving in general.