Art Workers Guild
The Art Workers Guild or Art-Workers' Guild is an organisation established in 1884 by a group of British architects associated with the ideas of William Morris
William Morris
William Morris 24 March 18343 October 1896 was an English textile designer, artist, writer, and socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the English Arts and Crafts Movement...

 and the Arts and Crafts movement
Arts and Crafts movement
Arts and Crafts was an international design philosophy that originated in England and flourished between 1860 and 1910 , continuing its influence until the 1930s...

. The guild promoted the 'unity of all the arts', denying the distinction between fine and applied art. It opposed the professionalisation of architecture – which was promoted by the Royal Institute of British Architects
Royal Institute of British Architects
The Royal Institute of British Architects is a professional body for architects primarily in the United Kingdom, but also internationally.-History:...

 at this time – in the belief that this would inhibit design.

The founders of the Guild were five young architects from Norman Shaw's office: W.R. Lethaby, Edward Prior
Edward Schroeder Prior
Edward Schroeder Prior was an architect who was instrumental in establishing the arts and crafts movement. He was one of the foremost theorists of the second generation of the movement, writing extensively on architecture, art, craftsmanship and the building process and subsequently influencing...

, Ernest Newton
Ernest Newton
Ernest Newton, FRIBA, ARA was an English architect and President of Royal Institute of British Architects.-Life:Newton was the son of an estate manager of Bickley, Kent. He was educated at Uppingham School. He married, in 1881, Antoinette Johanna Hoyack, of Rotterdam, and had three sons...

, Mervyn Macartney and Gerald C. Horsley. Its first master was the sculptor, George Blackall Simonds
George Blackall Simonds
George Blackall Simonds was an English sculptor and director of H & G Simonds Brewery in Reading in the English county of Berkshire....

. Among its members was Henry Bird
Henry Bird (artist)
thumb|220px|right|[[Conversion of St Paul]], a mural by Henry Bird painted in 1973, in [[Denton, Northamptonshire|St Margaret's Church, Denton]]Henry Bird was a British artist from Northampton who painted murals and female nudes. He went to the Royal College of Art and then designed sets at the...


The Guild is today a society of artists, craftsmen and designers with a common interest in the interaction, development and distribution of creative skills. They represent a variety of views on design and stand for authenticity (irrespective of political and stylistic ideology) in a world increasingly uncertain about what is real. Founded originally by the leading lights of the Arts and Crafts movement in the 1890s, many of its current members uphold long-established traditions of workmanship and a desire to contribute to the community. The Guild believes that art, craft and design should be invigorating and positive in outlook, at a time when much art remains alienating and self-indulgent. These principles are manifest in the individual work of the members and are spread through teaching, research, publication and exhibitions.
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