18 July 2008

Oscar Wilde, Joseph Worcester, and the English Arts & Crafts Movement

Rev. Joseph Worcester’s Piedmont cottage (detail from a painting by William Keith)

What did the dandy aesthete Oscar Wilde and the Swedenborgian minister Joseph Worcester have in common? They both lectured in the Bay Area in 1882. While both discussed art and its role in life, their viewpoints were diametrically opposed.

Leslie M. Freudenheim, author of Building with Nature: Inspiration for the Arts and Crafts Home and a Worcester champion, brings these opposing world views head-to-head while reviewing original documents recently retrieved from storage by the Swedenborgian House of Studies Library.

Her article, “Oscar Wilde, Joseph Worcester, and the English Arts & Crafts Movement,” is published in BAHA’s Essays & Stories section.

As Ms. Freudenheim suggests, “For those interested in the growth of the English Arts & Crafts Movement in America, its manifestations in California, and the influence of Joseph Worcester in the Bay Area, this information is eye-opening.”


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