Leaders of the British ‘arts and crafts movement’ such as William Burges and William Morris, wanted patterns to be a 'visible symbol' of nature of which we are a small part, and which gives us delight when we cloth 'our daily and domestic walls with ornaments that reminds us of the outward face of the earth, of the innocent love of animals, or of man passing his days between work and rest'.

William Morris (1834-1896) saw that the Industrial Revolution was dehumanizing the arts. Morris’ contemporary John Ruskin in his influential book The Stones of Venice believed that the medieval world was closer to nature than our modern world—making it more pure.

Taken in historical context, “it was only one among several late 19th-century reform movements, such as the Garden City movement, vegetarianism and folksong revivals, that set the Romantic values of nature and folk culture against the artificiality of modern life.”

So what does the Craftsman style look like? The artisans turned their backs to the overly ornate Victorian frou-frou and towards simple, clean lines. It encompassed furniture, jewelry, architecture, clothing, fabrics and distinctive colors. Inspiration for forms and patterns was often taken from nature.
Colours originated in nature ranging from “mossy greens, mustard, terra cotta, warm brown and amber” and were used in “wall coverings, pottery, lamps, stained glass and textiles of the period.”

Cardiff has a first class example of the arts and craft movement in Castell Coch. We made a trip to the castle and this is what we saw.