Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer

Advertisement for the First Socialist may Day Carnival 1895

Walter Crane (1845-1915)

WCA.1.8.108

Title Advertisement for the First Socialist may Day Carnival 1895
Object type Proof
Artist/maker Walter Crane (1845-1915)
Support Paper
Medium Ink (Printed In Black)
Accession number WCA.1.8.108

Exhibition: Art and Labour's Cause is One: Object Label:WCA.1.8.108

The newly formed National Independent Labour Party hosted a May Day carnival in 1895 at the Holborn Town Hall in London. Earlier in the nineteenth century, both radical and conservative groups advocated a revival of May Day, inspired by a vision of medieval “Merrie England”. The Second Socialist International, held in Paris in 1889, declared May 1 an annual, international festival. In his imagery, Crane fused fantasy and nostalgia to agitate for a socialist future. The motif of dancing figures is also found in his work for the Ancoats Brotherhood and the Workers’ Union. Crane’s design does not reveal any of the sectarian tensions then plaguing the ILP. It provides an image of unity, if only symbolically.

Exhibition: Art and Labour's Cause is One: Object Label:WCA.1.8.108

The newly formed National Independent Labour Party hosted a May Day carnival in 1895 at the Holborn Town Hall in London. Earlier in the nineteenth century, both radical and conservative groups advocated a revival of May Day, inspired by a vision of medieval “Merrie England”. The Second Socialist International, held in Paris in 1889, declared May 1 an annual, international festival. In his imagery, Crane fused fantasy and nostalgia to agitate for a socialist future. The motif of dancing figures is also found in his work for the Ancoats Brotherhood and the Workers’ Union. Crane’s design does not reveal any of the sectarian tensions then plaguing the ILP. It provides an image of unity, if only symbolically.

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).