Pendant, silver / enamel / peridot, designed by Charles Robert Ashbee, made by the Guild of Handicraft, England, c. 1905
Pendant was designed by Charles Robert Ashbee and made by the Guild of Handicraft, London or Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, about 1905
Charles Robert Ashbee (1863-1942) was an English designer, writer, architect and entrepreneur who was an important figure in both the Arts and Craft and Art Nouveau movements. The Arts and Craft style took its craft ethics from the work of John Ruskin and its co-operative structure from the socialism of William Morris. Ashbee was greatly influenced by these two men, particularly by their vision of creative workmanship, and the importance of hand craftsmanship in an industrial society in which such crafts were dying.
Ashbee was important for his influence on and promotion of Art Nouveau, a style which developed and followed on naturally from the concepts of the Arts and Craft movement. His influence was particularly evident on the development of Art Nouveau jewellery, especially at the English department store Liberty & Co. and the Wiener Werkstatte in Vienna, Austria.
The School and Guild of Handicraft started in the East End of London in 1888 and was largely the work of Charles Robert Ashbee. The Guild was a 'craft workshop that combined the ideals of the ARts and CRaft Movement with a romantic, apolitical socialism'* Over the years, the Guild specialised in metalworking, jewellery and enamels as well as hand-wrought copper and wrought ironwork, furniture and printing. Many of the most admired products of the Guild, such as metal work and jewellery in particular, were designed by Ashbee. In 1891 the Guild was based at Essex House in Mile End Road, London until 1902 when it moved to Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds. The Guild was liquidated in 1907, but continued in a reduced form until 1919.
* Crawford, Alan. "Ashbee, C. R.." Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press (accessed 17 March, 2013)
Newman, Harold. 'An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry', Thames and Hudson, 1981