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The Triumph of Labour

Walter Crane (1845-1915)

WCA.1.8.29

Title The Triumph of Labour
Object type Proof
Artist/maker Walter Crane (1845-1915)
Support Paper
Medium Ink (Black)
Techniques Wood Engraving
Marks and
Inscriptions
Signed by Walter Crane in black ink on lower right hand corner.
Dimensions h:529 w:244
Accession number WCA.1.8.29

Exhibition: Art and Labour's Cause is One: Object Label:WCA.1.8.29

In 1891, Walter Crane produced what would become the definitive image of English socialism: “The Triumph of Labour”. The winged figure of Freedom carries the torch of liberty and leads a procession of Lady Bountiful and her labourers. The vitality of the natural world urges them forward, a physical manifestation of the “organic” origins of Crane’s socialism. The picturesque expression of the unity of labour would prove popular with labour unions and socialist groups well into the 1930s.

Exhibition: Art and Labour's Cause is One: Object Label:WCA.1.8.29

In 1891, Walter Crane produced what would become the definitive image of English socialism: “The Triumph of Labour”. The winged figure of Freedom carries the torch of liberty and leads a procession of Lady Bountiful and her labourers. The vitality of the natural world urges them forward, a physical manifestation of the “organic” origins of Crane’s socialism. The picturesque expression of the unity of labour would prove popular with labour unions and socialist groups well into the 1930s.

Walter Crane (1845-1915)

Born in Liverpool, Crane is best known as a prolific designer and book illustrator. In 1871 after his marriage he spent two years in Italy. He was a member of the Royal Institute from 1882 to 1886 but resigned inorder to become a member of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1889. In later life Crane was a committed Socialist and follower of William Morris.Walter Crane is well known for his accomplishments in illustration, painting and design. At the age of 13, he became the apprentice of the wood-engraver William James Linton, after which time he became a nursery-book illustrator. Crane drew subjects from his book illustrations for his designs. These complicated patterns often included the motifs of figures, animals and birds. Crane designed wallpapers for Jeffery and Co. between 1874 and 1912. His textile designs were produced by companies such as Liberty, Wardle and Co., Birch, Gibson & Co., and John Wilson. Crane was well-connected in the art world in Great Britain and abroad. He knew William Morris and designed a tapestry for Morris & Co. He attended meeting of The Fifteen from 1882, which later merged with the students of Norman Shaw to become the Art Workers' Guild in 1888. In 1888, Crane became the Master of Guild as well as the President of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, of which he was a founder member, and through which he regularly exhibited. Crane also became the Director of Design at Manchester Municipal College in 1893 and the Principal of the Royal College of Art in 1898. In addition to extensive lecturing, Crane wrote books about design theory such as The Bases of Design (1898) and Line and Form (1900).