Walter Crane

The Arts and Crafts, Painting, and Politics

Morna O'Neill

View Inside Price: $75.00

March 8, 2011
320 pages, 7 1/2 x 10
100 b/w + 20 color illus.
ISBN: 9780300167689

Published for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

Out of Print

Walter Crane (1845-1915) was one of the most important, versatile, and radical artists of the 19th century: a painter, decorator, designer, book illustrator, poet, author, teacher, art theorist, and socialist. Crane's astonishingly diverse body of work challenged the establishment, both artistically and politically. In this original and carefully researched new study, Morna O'Neill presents a fascinating portrait of an artist who used his talent and energy to dismantle the traditional boundaries between fine art and decorative art, between elite art and popular art, and between art and propaganda. O'Neill reconsiders Crane's politics and reintegrates it with his art, allowing Crane to emerge in this book as a unique figure, an artist who translated "art for art's sake" into "art for all."

Morna O'Neill is Assistant Professor of Art History in the Department of Art at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and the author of the exhibition catalogue Art and Labour's Cause is One: Walter Crane and Manchester, 1880-1915 (Whitworth Art Gallery, 2008).

O’Neill – Walter Crane “The career of the radical polymath Walter Crane (1845-1915), painter, designer, writer – and socialist – is exhaustively detailed in Morna O’Neill’s dense study: a high definition close-up of his astonishing range of almost breathless activity.” Marina Vaizey, V&A Magazine, Spring 2011

“O’Neill shows an acute feel for Crane, for the period, and for the value of later critical voices in shedding light on it. Soul-hunger afflicts us still, but in the world of art history, head and heart are often kept separate. Here is an example of bringing them together that unlocks the past and reopens the window on the future.”—Alan Powers, The Art Newspaper No.225

“O’Neill’s account of Crane’s work and its close links to his political activities brings new material to light and helps to establish more fully his place in the later Arts and Crafts movement…..O’Neill’s study is important.”—Christopher Long, Burlington Magazine

“O’Neill has done a particularly commendable job in re-establishing Crane’s status as a painter……This is a really stimulating monograph that gives a modern perspective on an artist who is himself far more modern in outlook than the ‘traditional’ treatment of his paintings, graphics, and designs would suggest. The book is, as one would expect from Yale University Press and the Paul Mellon Centre, attractively designed and well illustrated.”—Peter Cormack, Journal of Stained Glass, Vol XXXIV

“Morna O’Neill’s impressive new book provides...It brings together a huge body of research and focuses on the most neglected aspect of Crane’s work, his mythological and allegorical paintings.”—Jo Banham, The Victorian

"O'Neill's well-crafted study restores the intellectual complexity of Crane's paintings as well as his aestheticism and his participation in the Arts and Crafts movement. It adds a significant chapter to the ongoing etymology of the term 'decoration' in artistic discourses."Anne Helmreich, Victorian Studies

Winner of the 2011 Historians of British Art Books Prize in Post-1800 category
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