The Arts and Crafts movement was an aesthetic movement occurring in the late 19th century and early 20th century inspired by writings of author John Ruskin in his book, The Seven Lamps of Architecture. The philosophy of the movement advocated hand fabrication of products in place of machine fabrication. First and foremost was the idea of truth in materials, the use of simple forms, and no unnecessary decoration in the designs. Nature was an important source of the motifs inspired by plants, birds, organic shapes and patterns.
William Morris founded the firm of Morris, Marshall and Faulkner, which decorated churches, designed stained glass, textiles, tapestries, and furniture. Morris insisted that art and design be part of normal daily life. Another quote by Morris, "the true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life" illustrates his passion.
Morris was a visionary who believed art should flourish in a free and equal society. In a lecture, The Lesser Arts of Life he said, "I do not want art for a few, any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few . . . art will make our streets as beautiful as the woods, as elevating as mountain sides: It will be a pleasure and a rest . . . to come from the open country into a town; every man's house will be fair and decent, soothing to his mind and helpful to his work: all the works of man that we live among and handle will be in harmony with nature, will be reasonable and beautiful . . . in no private dwelling will there be any signs of waste, pomp or insolence, and every man will have his share of the best."
William Morris by Christine Poulson, Victoria and Albert Period Styles by Anna Jackson and The Style Sourcebook by Judith Miller.