All Play And No Work

We’re not sure if you’ve heard of the small company we’re featuring here this week in our Collector’s Guide but after you finish this article, you’ll want to be their best friend. Ever dreamed of taking a decadent trip abroad full of Arts & Crafts related tours and first class accommodations but get bogged down because it seems like such a bear to plan? Cue angels singing and the heavens opening up and shining light down on your smiling face as you discover the incredible world of Arts & Crafts Tours. They are in the business of making you feel at home no matter where your travels find you — and all of their tours are centered around the Arts & Crafts Movement. Read on to discover some of their upcoming tours in 2015 and 2016 and call now to book your trip (or two) of a lifetime!

Private Presses (October 18-28, 2015)

This mouth-watering tour of private presses will begin in London where you’ll stay in the historic Bloomsbury section just near the British Museum. Along the way there will be demonstrations of various printing techniques on private presses, visits to specialist libraries, and a look at some exceptional bookbinding.

You’ll begin at the St. Bride Foundation just off of Fleet Street which is the museum of the history of printing with presses and materials that go back to the earliest days of printing, the mid-15th Century. You’ll also visit several working presses, among them the Hand and Eye in Shadwell where they will demonstrate the collaboration that goes into the production of several of their books.

From London there are a number of day trips scheduled, one to Ditchling where you can see Eric Gill’s press as well as many of the books of the St. Dominic Press, begun by Douglas Pepler. There is also work by the wonderful calligrapher Edward Johnston and another day trip will take you to Cambridge. You will also spend several days in the Cotswolds, and one of the more exciting stops while you’re there is to the exceptional private collection of Sir Paul Getty at Wormsley. His collection was put together on the theme of “the art of the book”.

After several days visiting Kelmscott Manor, the Emery Walker Archive in Cheltenham and a day in Oxford, you will return to London where there are visits to several rare book dealers and a special Farewell Dinner.

Tiles And Ceramics of the Arts and Crafts Movement (May 8-18, 2016)

On this trip, you begin in London and travel through the western part of England and Wales where much of the clay deposits were located and therefore, where many producers of these products flourished.

While in London you will visit the Houses of Parliament, the Arab Hall at Leighton House and a private collection. Then it is on to Cardiff and the exquisite, almost unimaginably creative work of William Burges for the 3rd Marques of Bute.

Journeying north you will see the major industrial cities of Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool. These offer a wonderful opportunity for at least one good pub crawl — the 19th century pubs used tiles and ceramics and metalwork so imaginatively. And, among the more unusual locations, you’ll stop in a number of public lavatories. There is also a day trip to Leeds. And of course a visit to one of A.W.N. Pugin’s masterpieces – St Giles Church in Cheadle. You will also visit places of manufacture such as Ironbridge and Stoke-on-Trent where the large collection of Wedgwood has recently been purchased and is happily being returned to the Wedgwood Museum in Stoke.

Scotland’s Arts And Crafts (September 10-20, 2016)

Though the history of Scotland and the area known as the Borders is one intricately connected to battles and confrontation, it is also rich in the work of many talented designers and architects. Within Arts and Crafts traditions, this can best be examined in the architecture of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Beginning in Glasgow you will spend days seeing Mackintosh’s greatest works – the Mackintosh House and the Glasgow School of Art now being rebuilt after the tragic fire in 2014. You will also see the House for an Art Lover with Dai and Jenny Vaughan the artists who recreated Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh’s designs for the dining room. There are receptions at the Mackintosh Society, dinner at the Glasgow Art Club, an exploration of nineteenth century Glasgow, and tea at the Willow Tea Room.

Of course no examination of Mackintosh is complete without a visit to Helensbourgh and The Hill House, surely his domestic masterpiece. Going further afield to the northwest is the windswept Loch Fyne. Here you’ll visit two glorious private homes by Robert Lorimer – Dunderave and Ardkinglas. And further south off the coast is the romantic Isle of Bute, reached by ferry and the site of the most fantastic home, Mount Stuart, designed by Robert Rowan Anderson for the Third Marquess of Bute. The exceptional craftsmanship inside the house includes much by William Burges and is equally matched by the sumptuous and extensive gardens.

Driving through the rugged Borders between Scotland and England you’ll arrive in Brampton, a small village with a large body of work by Philip Webb, including his only church, all built for the Howard family, whose main home is Castle Howard. From here you’ll journey to Lindisfarne designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Situated on an island reached by a causeway, it is one of the most romantic of buildings, with its breathtaking views out to the brutal and beautiful North Sea.

Returning to Scotland, you’ll stay overnight at Greywalls, Lutyens’ only building in Scotland, designed for the Tennant family with a wonderful garden by Gertrude Jekyll. But before heading back to Glasgow, you’ll visit Edinburgh and have tours of St. Giles, the Dovecot Tapestry, and time to walk the mile road between the castle and Holyrood. Back in Glasgow, the trip concludes with a festive banquet joined by many of your guides and hosts!

For complete itinerary and booking information for these and several other Arts & Crafts Tours, please visit today!