cover image Arts & Crafts Carpets

Arts & Crafts Carpets

Rizzoli, Malcolm Haslam. Rizzoli International Publications, $65 (200pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-1388-9

Haslam's ( The Real World of the Surrealists ) attractively illustrated volume focuses on Britain's late-19th- and early-20th-century arts and crafts movement, highlighting prominent designers and styles of handmade carpets. Much of the text is devoted to William Morris, whose Hammersmith style incorporated Gothic floral motifs and Persian medallions, and C.F.A. Voysey, whose Donegal carpets' harmonious, glowing color schemes were influenced by work from Turkey. The production process is presented: we see the grids on which designers planned colors and patterns, as well as photos of the weavers, who completed an average of 25 hand-knotted rows, or two inches of carpet, per day. Quotes from turn-of-the-century artisans, writers and critics provide sometimes passionate opinions of handmade goods, mass production and floral vs. geometric imagery. Color and duotone photos of lush carpets in exhibitions and in the home enliven the text, making for a leisurely browse that is both informative and a treat for the eyes. (Oct.)