Court Barn Museum, Chipping Campden
Summary:The story of how Chipping Campden became a gathering place for designers and craftspeople of national and international repute in the early part of the 20th Century and how the legacy of the Arts and Crafts movement has continued in the Cotswolds is revealed at Court Barn Museum, which opened its doors in 2007.
Court Barn Museum, which opened in Chipping Campden in 2007, tells the story of the world famous Arts and Crafts movement and its legacy and how this small Cotswold town became a gathering place for designers and craftspeople of national and international repute.
The Arts and Crafts Movement emphasised the importance of creative manual work and the breakdown of the barrier between designer and maker, looking for inspiration to the English countryside.
In 1902, C R Ashbee brought some 100 followers from his Guild of Handicraft, based in East London, to the beautiful Cotswold town of Chipping Campden. Sadly, the guild did not prosper beyond its first few years and its failure in 1908 sent many craftsmen back to London, but by then the craft momentum had begun and in subsequent years the Cotswolds has continued to be a centre for arts and crafts.
One of C R Ashbee's followers was George Hart, a silversmith with the Guild of Handicraft who came to Chipping Campden in 1902 and in 1912 he took on the running of the workshop. He was joined by his son Henry in 1930 and the family tradition is now carried on by his grandson David Hart, his son William and nephew Julian Hart, along with Derek Elliott.
Their workshop in Sheep Street is the last operating remnant of the Guild of Handicraft which C R Ashbee established in 1888.
Court Barn Museum, in Church Street, Chipping Campden, focuses on the creative work of nine artists, designers and craftspeople associated with the Arts and Crafts Movement.
Exhibition cases display work by the nine, including C R Ashbee (jewellery and silver and the Essex House press) the Hart family (silver) and Alec Miller (woodcarvings).
The museum has been created by a group of local enthusiasts, the Guild of Handicraft Trust, which was established in 1990. The Trust received generous financial help from the Heritage Lottery Fund to create the Court Barn Museum to foster the appreciation of these people and their work and to encourage craft and design work of good quality in the present day.
A 17th Century listed barn has been carefully and imaginatively adapted to house a permanent exhibition of art, craft and design; a space for lectures, temporary exhibitions and demonstrations.
A mezzanine level is used for administration and archive storage. There is also a museum shop, inspired by its collections, which offers handcrafted gifts, contemporary jewellery, locally made pottery, books and cards.
As a charity, the museum relies on private donations to bridge the gap between its income from the admission charge and its overheads. It also has an acquisitions fund to assist it in acquiring more works by its nine featured craftspeople.
North Gate Lodge, Church Street, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, GL55 6JE