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About the object

A beautiful Scottish Arts and Crafts brass wall sconce decorated with a ship in full sail on sailing over a wave. The base holds a holder for a small candle. Excellent original condition. Scottish c 1890 . Excellent repousse work and fine detail


The Arts and Crafts movement was an international movement in the decorative and fine arts that began in Britain and flourished in Europe and North America between about 1880 and 1920. It stood for traditional craftsmanship using simple forms, and often used medieval, romantic, or folk styles of decoration.

The movement had an “extraordinary flowering” in Scotland where it was represented by the development of the ‘Glasgow Style’ which was based on the talent of the Glasgow School of Art.

From the mid 19th Century  to the early 20th Century , the sailing ship was a common, if not central, decorative motif in the Arts and Crafts movement.

It is difficult at this distance to appreciate how popular this image was but some idea of its pervasiveness is indicated by the number and range of household objects to which it was applied. Newlyn, John Pearson and Liberty to name but a few all used this motif in their designs.

Billowing sails symbolise adventure and escape, which may explain its popularity at the peak of Victorian industrialisation. William Morris led a  moral crusade against mechanisation and the revival of a medieval style unsullied by industrialisation at the start of the Arts and Crafts movement.

When it came to furnishing their aesthetic homes the middle classes, keen to display their artistic leanings, would have been influenced by magazines like The Studio. Christopher Dresser and C R Ashbee included this motif in many of their designs. The ship motifs included Galleons, yachts and Viking ships

Date c 1890


Approximate height 33 cm tall

Condition report

Excellent original condition

Stock number