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IN one of the prefaces to this book, Tod M Volpe tells readers that the artists of the American Arts and Crafts movement believed that art and industry could work together, adding, in a 21st century utopian context: “There is an underlying force which has brought all of this, as all creative endeavors, to the surface – a power that brings joy, happiness and excitement to both the creator and the admirer. That power is love.” – or, you may say, the beginnings of 20th century design and an era of blunt-nosed commercialism.

Tod Volpe and Beth Cathers have been collectors of and dealers in Arts and Crafts pieces, while Alistair Duncan has written a number of books on the Arts Nouveau and Deco. The authors have selected pieces “not simply for the exquisiteness of their use of the medium, but also for the sources from which they drew their inspiration”.

With Gustav Stickley as the moving spirit, the American Arts and Crafts movement eventually attracted notable architects, designers and companies, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Greene and Greene and the Rookwood Pottery. The book features some 130 colour photographs of the stained glass, furniture, silver and metalwork, ceramics, textiles and lighting that were “like constellations which can be used to navigate, the beauty of their presence vastly overflows any function they may have”. Good text by Alistair Duncan, particularly on Stickley.