The Beginnings of Modernism: British Design, 1870-1910

Exhibition Website

Jul 30 2016 - Jul 29 2018

Note: This exhibition is located in downtown Minneapolis.

In U.S. and European decorative arts in the late 1800s, Britain led the way in modern design. Some common themes emerged: an openness to global design influences and an embrace—or rejection—of industrial manufacturing. Christopher Dresser, considered the first modern industrial designer, worked with British manufacturers of furniture, metalwork, wallpaper, ceramics, and glass to create well-designed objects for mass production. Dresser, a trained botanist and world traveler, studied design from all cultures. His designs reflect either new uses of natural or cultural motifs, or incredible simplicity through a focus on geometry and surface.

At the same time, designers and makers who were part of the English Arts and Crafts movement wanted to provide handmade—and often luxurious and expensive—alternatives to mass-produced goods. Standards were set and maintained by the Guild of Handicraft led by Charles Robert Ashbee. London department store Liberty’s of London sold handmade and unique objects made by British craftsmen and women. This exhibition shows the dominance of Britain during this era with works by Dresser and his contemporaries.

Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.

  • Decorative Arts
  • British
  • 19th Century
  • Design
  • Christopher Dresser
  • and others

Exhibition Venues & Dates