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Christopher Dresser

Price: £29.50

By Harry Lyons

Christopher Dresser (1834-1904) was a Victorian from a humble provincial background, who pushed back the frontiers of class privilege to claim his place as the first designer of the industrial age with the household in mind. Dressers message was that cheap, affordable items need not be ugly.

His numerous designs were decades ahead of his time, selling in America, Australia, China, India and Africa; many of these designs still feature in the life-style magazines of today. Indeed, Alessi, — todays style leader — reproduces items originally designed by Dresser.

In this extensively researched book with over 400 colour and 250 black and white illustrations, Harry Lyons, an acknowledged Dresser expert, takes a comprehensive look at Dressers work, including his less well-known designs in textiles, wallpapers and graphic design. Christopher Dresser — The People's Designer also points the way to new areas of collecting Dresser design, examining some of the previously overlooked manufacturers, whose wares are still readily available and affordable.

In 1860, the Crystal Palace School of Art, Science & Literature was set up by the Crystal Palace Company in the Palace’s north wing here on our park, and, in 1861, Dresser was made Professor of Botany – his first lecture being delivered at noon on 31st January. The Daily News of 15th October 1861 relates that on the 17th, Dr. Dresser’s lecture “…will be on the ‘Arts of Decorative Design and their relation to Botany’ and will be specially addressed to those who may be preparing to exhibit in competition in the International Exhibition of 1862” [in Kensington]. Dresser produced two books on decorative art in 1862: The Development of Ornamental Art at the International Exhibition, and The Art of Decorative Design, the latter as ‘Professor of Ornamental Art and Botany at the Crystal Palace’.

Hardback 320 pages 300+ illustrations