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Alfred Powell: Idealism and Realism in the Cotswolds

Jacqueline Sarsby
Journal of Design History
Vol. 10, No. 4, Craft, Culture and Identity (1997), pp. 375-397
Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of Design History Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1316209
Page Count: 23
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Alfred Powell: Idealism and Realism in the Cotswolds
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Abstract

Alfred Powell's idea of art embraced all work, not just what could be sold in a gallery; he saw it as inherent in happy, satisfying work of all kinds. Gimson's workshops in the South Cotswolds and the reintroduction of hand-painting at Wedgwood were seen by Powell as ways of giving back to people opportunities for creative workmanship. His own work included architecture, pottery- and furniture-painting, but he also designed and made furniture. He believed that architecture and the crafts should create an organic whole with the natural world, and that industrialization and bad building robbed people of the conditions in which they could be happy and create good work. With his wife Louise, he helped to create a community of artists and craftspeople in Gloucestershire before the Second World War. He was involved in many community and philanthropic projects, at home and abroad. His concern for the craftsperson, who, he believed, had the right to satisfying, creative work, contrasts with the concern among many of his contemporaries in the crafts, from the 1920s onwards, with the intuitively created art-object and the personality of the artist-craftsman.

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