CRANE, Walter (1845-1915). ALBUM OF ORIGINAL DRAWINGS OF A VISIT TO HUNGARY. Hungary and East Hagbourne, 30 October 1900 to 9 April 1901.
Oblong 8vo., (6 2/8 x 8 7/8 inches). Thirteen original drawings each titled, signed and dated by Crane, in an album containing 43 leaves (light soiling and spotting). Original natural linen (rubbed, front inner hinge starting).
Provenance: inscribed by the artist, in an elderly hand "Walter Crane, London" on the front paste-down; and below "These drawings are the work of my late Father Walter Crane. R.W.S. signed Lionel F. Crane" (born 1876); from the library of Jacques Levy, his sale, Sotheby's, 20th April 2012, lot 76.
Including several fine drawings of men and women in national dress; interiors; rural scenes; and architectural details; there are two drawings at the end of East Hagbourne. Many of the drawings are annotated by Crane with notes pertaining to the colour of the fabric worn, and so on.
"In the 1890s and 1900s Crane enjoyed fame and public honours. In 1891-2 a major retrospective exhibition of his work toured the United States. In 1893 he was appointed director of design at Manchester School of Art. From 1893 to 1896 his exhibition toured Europe, and he was delighted to find that German collectors and museums bought his allegorical paintings, which chimed with German symbolist work. In 1898 he was appointed principal of the Royal College of Art. Three separate monographs were published on his work. A new and much larger retrospective opened in 1900 at the Applied Arts Museum in Budapest, where he and Mary Crane were fêted. It then toured Austria and Germany. At this point the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, of which he was still president, was invited to assemble the English contribution to the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative Art, due to open in Turin in 1902. Lacking financial resources, Crane and others simply moved his exhibition to Turin and added other arts and crafts exhibits. Crane was decorated by Victor Emmanuel III for his part in the exhibition, and from then on called himself Commendatore Crane.
"In these decades Crane published an autobiography and a half-dozen books in which, among various technical subjects, he set out his conviction that decorative art had a distinguished history and wide intellectual scope; that it was the art of the people and would flourish only when the people were free; and that the arts and crafts movement was its modern champion against the threat of commercialism and the machine. These were typical arts and crafts arguments and were learned mostly from Morris, though they lacked Morris's passionate medievalism and mature socialism. Some of these books were translated into Dutch, German, and Hungarian. The boy who found school difficult, the young man who illustrated children's books, was now an authority, a writer on art" (Alan Crawford for DNB).