Haslemere Museum is delighted to present an intriguing new exhibition, The Rustic Renaissance which tells the story of how, in the early 1900s, Haslemere became a thriving centre for a community of artists and craftspeople, inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement – one of the most influential international artistic movements of modern times.

It grew out of a concern for the effects of industrialisation on society and traditional skills in the late 1800s and the movement influenced many areas of the cultural landscape including architecture, garden design, clothing and home furnishings.

Lindsay Moreton, Collections Manager at Haslemere Museum explains: “The Peasant Arts Society as they became known, were determined to revive lost country crafts and so they set up craft workshops and weaving houses in the town teaching local girls to weave. They produced many different types of crafts, from striking hand woven textiles to printed cards, some of which survive in our collection.”

Founders of the movement, including Godfrey Blount and Joseph King also collected beautifully decorated household objects and intricately embroidered textiles from all over Europe and brought them back to Haslemere displaying them in their own Museum to inspire the local artisans. Joining them in this pursuit of collecting was Gerald Davies, a master at Charterhouse School in Godalming and his collection was later purchased by the Peasant Arts Society.

Lindsay says: “In 1926 this remarkable collection of European folk art was re-homed to Haslemere Museum where it remains today providing an insight into the rituals and patterns of life of the people who produced them.”

The exhibition will showcase wonderful objects from the Museum’s remarkable European Peasant Arts Collection as well as rarely seen textile designs made by local weavers. Also on display will be original artwork by Godfrey Blount as well as photographs and documents from the Peasant Arts archive.

The Horniman Museum and Gardens, London, has kindly loaned Haslemere Museum its Swedish folk art straw goats, which will be shown in this exhibition as part of Object in Focus, a project funded by Arts Council England. They will also be hosting a free family friendly craft workshop on 8t July, so do go along to Haslemere Museum and enjoy a fun morning making a summer wreath.

For anyone with an interest in local history, arts and crafts or simply want to find out more, this exhibition is a must!

The Rustic Renaissance exhibition opened on 1 July and runs until 2nd September, entry free. For more information visit www.haslemeremuseum.co.uk.

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