Arts and Crafts movement

Geoffrey Lupton Constructing the Library  Edward Barnsley

With an exceptional retrospective exhibition currently in the Bedales Gallery, it seemed an opportune moment to give an assembly on the Arts and Crafts movement and the intertwining of its heyday and the early history of Bedales School. The alumni list of Old Bedalians from the early years of the school is littered with the children of influential craftsmen and makers of the movement, and others who went on to become makers after starting their making journeys in the Bedales workshop.

Amongst these pioneers and advocates of the movement were Geoffrey Lupton and Edward Barnsley, both of whom were educated at the school. Ernest Gimson, one of the most distinguished and well respected designers of the period, was commissioned to draw up plans for the buildings of the school in 1906 of which the Hall and the Library were constructed. The Lupton Hall was constructed (and financed) almost entirely by Geoffrey Lupton and the Memorial Library built later after the great war to these plans. The furniture in the library was designed by Gimson and made by Edward Barnsley in the workshop that now bears his name in Froxfield.

Plans for the ladderback chairs made for the Library

As a community we are hugely privileged to have this grade one listed facility at our daily disposal and it is of enormous satisfaction that the legacy of the Arts and Crafts period remains flourishing in these parts. The relationship between the Barnsley workshop and Bedales remains strong with the Barnsley Scholar annual award to an upper sixth Design student cementing that relationship.

The exhibition of the furniture of the Edward Barnsley workshop  and some fine paintings inspired by the local landscape by renown artists working in the area can still be seen until 6 December. Further details on the gallery website.

By Ben Shaw, Head of Design

Pictured:
1) Geoffrey Lupton constructing the Library
2) Edward Barnsley
3) Plans for the ladderback chairs made for the Library


Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.

One thought on “Arts and Crafts movement

  1. Weren’t the chairs that you show plans for actually made by Edward Gardiner (at Sidney Barnsley’s request)?

    See Gardiner’s own account in:
    Carruthers, A. (2007). Ernest Gimson and the Cotswold Group of Craftsmen. 2nd edition. Leicester Arts and Museums Service.

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