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Christopher Dresser: Design Pioneer (Victoria and Albert Museum)

Max Donnelly


A beautifully designed gift book devoted to the work of Christopher Dresser, one of the most influential British designers of all time

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Christopher Dresser (1834–1904) is one of the most influential British designers of all time and he is widely regarded as Britain’s first independent industrial designer. His works still look remarkably modern more than a century later. Like his contemporary William Morris, Dresser advocated for an ‘honesty of materials’, but unlike Morris he fully embraced industrial techniques, designing for the growing consumer market. Dresser’s fascination with the arts of Japan and his advocacy of Owen Jones’s principle that ornament should be geometrical in form resulted in a range of designs that look surprisingly minimal for their time. Affordable, well-designed, functional and commercially successful, the objects that Dresser designed – wallpapers, textiles, carpets, ceramics, furniture and, most famously, metalwork – were industrially produced by manufacturers across the UK, the US and continental Europe.

This compact, beautifully produced book on the work of Christopher Dresser begins with a brief introduction to his life and work before presenting 75 of his most important pieces, each accompanied by a narrative-style caption. It will appeal to anyone interested in modern design.

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'A wonderfully sleek and elegant introduction to the work of the influential and forward-looking 19th-century designer'
The i Newspaper

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Quarterbound (no jacket)

Size: 19.0 x 17.0 cm

Extent: 144 pp

Illustrations: 117

Publication date: 17 June 2021

ISBN: 9780500480700

About the Author

Max Donnelly is Curator of Nineteenth-Century Furniture in the Department of Furniture, Textiles and Fashion at the V&A. He has contributed to C. F . A. Voysey: Arts and Crafts Designer and The Story of Scottish Design (V&A/T&H).