Arts & Crafts 2008

Craft and Design: Ernest Gimson and the Arts & Crafts Movement

New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, Leicester

8th November 2008 – 1st March 2009



PLEASE NOTE: This exhibition has now closed

For information about the current, permanent Arts & Crafts Gallery click here


Leicester-born Ernest Gimson was one of the major designers of the late 19th/early 20th centuries. He worked in London and the Cotswolds until his death in 1919 but his reputation extended to Germany, Scandinavia and the USA. His work – furniture, metalwork, embroidery, plasterwork and architecture – represents the William Morris-inspired Arts & Crafts Movement at its most pure and has continued to inspire designer-makers worldwide up to the present day.

The exhibition focuses on Leicester’s important collection of furniture, metalwork, embroideries and architectural drawings by Gimson, Ernest and Sidney Barnsley and Peter Waals. Classic pieces include a monumental oak seat designed and made by Ernest Barnsley in 1899 and a macassar ebony cabinet, inlaid with mother of pearl, designed by Gimson in 1907. Also included are loans from private collections. The exhibition includes mid-20thcentury pieces inspired by Arts & Crafts traditions including work by Edward Barnsley, Gordon Russell and the US architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.

The exhibition showcases a range of work in different media including furniture, metalwork, embroidery, plasterwork and architectural design. It will focus both on design and the making process, highlighting and analysing its continuing appeal. Contemporary work on display illustrates the continuation of the tradition through both craftwork and product design with furniture by Nicholas Hobbs, Simon Pengelly and David Colwell, turned chairs by Neville Neal and plasterwork and metalwork by Chris Vickers.

The Arts & Crafts Movement was much more than a style, it was a way of life shared to a greater or lesser extent by designers, architects and clients. What were their houses like and what sort of life did they lead? The exhibition tries to answer these questions with two room settings – an urban interior based on the house of J M Goddard, a Leicester-based patron of Arts & Crafts designers, and an interior based on the Charnwood Forest cottages designed by Gimson.

Click below to see photographs of the exhibition:

Gallery 1

Gallery 2