Modern British Design 1850-1950

Ref: C2224429

At the height of 19c imperial power British designers rebelled against mainstream commodification and beautiful designs by Pugin, Henry Cole, William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement clearly linked form with function. In the 20c ‘flapper’ dress combined practicality with high fashion, while in the cash-strapped 1930s Clarice Cliff’s ceramics made art deco style affordable for the modern consumer. Later, Swedish interior designs complemented new homes and the increasingly informal living of post-WWII Britain. This course discusses innovative designers, sets the history of design in its historical context, looks closely at fascinating topics and includes some architecture.

Course aim

The course introduces students to British design from 1850-1950. It promotes enjoyment and understanding of the styles and functions of precious, rare and everyday objects.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Discuss and compare some British designs produced during the years 1850-1950.
  • Identify the inter-connections between design and society, including markets and commissions, within the limits of an introductory course.
  • Evaluate the importance of style and technique, as appropriate to a short introductory course.
  • Participate in looking at objects and visiting galleries and museums, including during a class visit.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation

Download full Course information sheet

Modern British Design 1850-1950


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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