Walter Crane (1845-1915) was one of the most important, versatile, and radical artists of the 19th century: a painter, decorator, designer, book illustrator, poet, author, teacher, art theorist, and socialist. Crane's astonishingly diverse body of work challenged the establishment, both artistically and politically. In this original and carefully researched new study, Morna O'Neill presents a fascinating portrait of an artist who used his talent and energy to dismantle the traditional boundaries between fine art and decorative art, between elite art and popular art, and between art and propaganda. O'Neill reconsiders Crane's politics and reintegrates it with his art, allowing Crane to emerge in this book as a unique figure, an artist who translated "art for art's sake" into "art for all."
Morna O'Neill is Assistant Professor of Art History in the Department of Art at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and the author of the exhibition catalogue Art and Labour's Cause is One: Walter Crane and Manchester, 1880-1915 (Whitworth Art Gallery, 2008).