At Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum Arts and Crafts Museum

Jewellery and Textiles

In Aesthetic Jewellery and Artistic Costume you will find a key image that illustrates some of the main themes of Arts and Crafts style. See more is an archive resource where you will find more images with captions, but if you are interested in something specific don't forget to look at the rest of the website, especially the Collection section.

For both dress and jewellery re-action against the strict codes of Victorian fashion and the emphasis on displaying wealth and status was a key factor in developing styles.

In Arts and Crafts jewellery it was important that, in addition to producing a piece by hand, it should largely be designed and made by one person so that the maker gained satisfaction in their work. It was felt that this aspect of creativity as well as concern for design and technique had been lost in Victorian factory production. A respect for the natural beauty of stones was also important, so these were simply cut and mounted in settings intended to be an integral part of the design.

Aesthetic dress looked to classical and medieval styles as it was felt that clothes worn during these times showed a true understanding of the human figure. Dress reformers were against the unnatural shapes created by Victorian corsetry. Fabrics dyed with vegetable dyes rather than the bright, garish colours created by the new chemical dyes were favoured along with soft and lightweight fabrics.

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