This new release from Manchester University Press offers the first comprehensive history of the network of women who worked at the heart of the English Arts and Crafts movement from the 1870s to the 1930s.
Challenging the long-standing assumption that the Arts and Crafts simply revolved around celebrated male designers like William Morris, it instead offers a new social and cultural account of the movement, which simultaneously reveals the breadth of the imprint of women art workers upon the making of modern society. Thomas provides unprecedented insight into how women navigated authoritative roles as 'art workers' by asserting expertise across a range of interconnected cultures: from the artistic to the professional, intellectual, entrepreneurial and domestic. Through examination of newly discovered institutional archives and private papers, Thomas elucidates the critical importance of the spaces around which women conceptualised alternative creative and professional lifestyles.
Zoë Thomas is Lecturer in 19th Century Britain and the Wider World in the History Department. Her research and teaching areas span nineteenth- and twentieth-century history with a focus on histories of work, activism, artistic culture, and women’s lives.
Most recently she has been working with colleague Dr Heidi Egginton (National Library of Scotland) to produce an edited volume for the Royal Historical Society/Institute of Historical Research’s ‘New Historical Perspectives’ series which uses precarity and gender as a lens through which to tell the history of the development of professional society in modern Britain.