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Arts and Crafts (1900-1930)

A successor of other 19th century movements, such as the Gothic Revival and the Aesthetic Movement, the British Arts and Crafts movement was a reaction against the deteriorating quality of goods during the Industrial Revolution, and the corresponding devaluation of human labor, over-dependence on machines, and disbanding of the guild system. Members of the Arts and Crafts movement also balked at Victorian eclecticism, which cluttered rooms with mismatched, faux-historic goods in an attempt to convey a sense of worldliness. The movement emphasized handwork over mass production, and was in some ways just as much of a social movement as it was an aesthetic one, emphasizing the plight of the industrial worker and equating moral rectitude with the ability to create beautiful but simple things. These social currents can especially be seen in the writings of John Ruskin and William Morris, both highly influential thinkers for the movement.

Wikipedia contributors, "American Craftsman," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia

(accessed June 30, 2021).


  • The American offshoot of Arts and Crafts is known as American Craftsman.

  • Eden Smith was Ontario’s most successful architect working in this style.


Major characteristics of Arts and Crafts architecture:

(taken from the Village of Maple Heritage Conservation District Plan 2007, prepared by Phillip H. Carter Architect and Planner in Association with Paul Oberst Architect).


  • Gable or “Jenkins-head” (partially hipped) roof.

  • Bay windows tend to be square.

  • 1 or 1 ½ story house.

  • Brick ground floor construction is common with gable ends of cedar shingles.

  • Wood double-hung windows.  Elaborate glazing patterns, sometimes leaded. 

  • Verandah is a dominant design feature.


For more information see our references:


The Ontario Heritage Trust. “Architectural Style.” Ontario Heritage Trust, 2017,

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