Christopher Dresser was an English Designer whose knowledge of past styles and experience with modern manufacturing processes made him a pioneer of professional design.
Born on 4th of July 1834 in Glasgow, Scotland, he died on 24th November 1904 in Mulhouse, Alsace, Germany (now part of France).
Dresser studied at the School of Design in London (1847–54), where he was appointed Professor of Artistic Botany in 1855.
In 1858 he sold his first designs.
He submitted two books in 1859; "Unity in Variety, as Deduced from the Vegetable Kingdom" and "The Rudiments of Botany, Structural and Physiological" and a short paper on morphology, "Contributions to Organographic Botany" to the University of Jena, Germany, who awarded him a doctorate in 1859.
In his Art of Decorative Design (1862), he further expressed his theories of design and botany and liberated design from historicism.
He supplied many designs for the 1862 International Exhibition in London where he presented the first ever large European collection of Japanese art, a subject he had studied for many years and on which he became a recognized authority.
Design reform and Eastern, particularly Japanese, art were essential elements of the Aesthetic movement and Dresser played a pivotal role in the movement’s development.
In 1863 Dresser lectured on “"The Prevailing Ornament of China and Japan"” and in that same year he worked with Owen Jones on the decoration of the Indian court and the Chinese and Japanese court at the South Kensington Museum (now called Victoria and Albert Museum).
In 1876–77 he visited Japan and delivered a gift of art manufactures (ceramics, glass, lace, metalwork, textiles, and a carpet) to the newly established institution, now known as the Tokyo National Museum, and was presented to the emperor.
Dresser’s philosophy of design was explained in a series of articles in the Technical Educator (1870–72, later published as Principles of Decorative Design in 1873).
In these he presented a design manifesto adopted by the Arts and Crafts movement 15 years later; and in the books Studies in Design (1874–76) and Modern Ornamentation (1886) he set out his views on the interior decoration of the period.
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