THE ARTS AND CRAFTS MOVEMENT IN THE NORTH EAST OF ENGLAND: A HANDBOOK, by Barrie and Wendy Armstrong. Published by Oblong Creative, Wetherby (01484 557041; £21.99. Softback.

THE Arts and Crafts Movement left a rich legacy of architecture, sculpture, stained glass, metalwork and other crafts and decorative arts.
As relatively little has previously been written about the Arts and Crafts legacy to be found here in the region, the authors admit that they were faced with almost a blank canvas when they began their research. This involved travelling through villages, towns and cities between the Tweed and Tees and visiting 600 sites ranging from churches and public buildings to private houses.
While the movement – a call to return to the celebration of the creativity and skills of the individual artist-craftsman – is generally dated from the mid-1880s, its roots go further back starting with ideas proposed by Ruskin, the Pre-Raphaelites, and later by William Morris.
In the North East some of these roots appeared as early as 1844 when the Scottish painter and poet William Bell Scott was appointed head of the Newcastle School of Design. His major work was the series of murals executed between 1856 and 1865 in the inner court at Wallington, the home of Sir Walter and Lady Pauline Trevelyan. Lady Pauline was a pupil of John Ruskin, as was the accomplished amateur artist Lady Louisa Beresford, the Marchioness of Waterford, who lived at Ford Castle.
Other notable creative figures whose work is extensively featured in the book include Ralph Hedley, who in addition to his painting skills established one of the most successful wood carving and church furnishing businesses in the country.
In 1904 the newly-established Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle held the first of its annual ‘Artists of the Northern Counties’ exhibitions. Among the artists and sculptors whose work was featured were J. Edgar Mitchell, Victor Rainbird, Ralph Hedley, R. J. S. Bertram, Arthur Marsh, T. R. Spence, James Eadie Reid and F. W. Doyle Jones, all of whom had Arts and Crafts connections and whose work appears in the book’s gazetteer.
Also covered in detail is the innovative early 20th century work of architectural firms such as Mauchlen and Weightman (Hethpool House, Whitton Grange and Shoreston House – buildings designed by Frank W. Rich), and the work of Edwin Lutyens at Lindisfarne Castle, Blagdon Hall and Whalton Manor.