Arts and Crafts Panels by Heywood Sumner

September 26, 2012 § 5 Comments

The upcoming Pasadena Heritage Show means that we are still thinking about Arts and Crafts homes over here at VEP! The prolific artist Heywood Sumner ( 1853-1940)  is a great example of an artist whose work would fit beautifully in a craftsman home. Sumner was an illustrator who worked alongside the Pre-Raphaelites from the late 19th century to the mid 20th century, in addition to being a prominent figure in the Arts and Crafts Movement.

Like many of the artists from this time period, Sumner worked in multiple mediums, and he also wrote about technique, so as to share what he had learned with other artists and craftsman.  Sumner was known for wood engraving, book illustration, and as a designer of wallpaper, tapestries and other textiles

We’ve recently had the pleasure of acquiring two new posters designed by Sumner, each of which presents a different poem bordering the image. The poem decorating the border of this first poem is entitled To Autumn and was written by the famed poet John Keats.

heywood sumner, arts and crafts, vintage poster, keats

Heywood Sumner, Season of Mellow Fruitfulness Autumn

Sumner has included several lines of the poem on the poster:

Season of mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core

The full poem describes the feeling of summer days passing into autumn, full of hard work and hopefully a bountiful harvest. The poster image’s warm earthy tones coupled with the rhythmic rows of wheat suit the poem perfectly.

This second poster includes a poem written by Christina Rossetti, a prominent writer in late 19th century England. Christina’s most famous poem is the dark “Goblin Market” Her brother, Dante Rossetti, was one of the most well-known Pre-Raphaelites, and his lush paintings are banner images from the movement.

Heywood Sumner, arts and crafts movement, vintage poster

Sumner, When Every Leaf is on its Tree Summer

In this poem, Rossetti sings the praises of summertime:

When ev’ry leaf is on its tree
When Robin’s not a beggar
And Jenny Wren’s a bride
And larks hang singing singing singing
Over the wheat-fields wide

Unlike the golden tones in Sumner’s Autumn poster, this image is bursting with vibrant green life – you can practically hear the birds singing!

We are always excited to find British posters, since they are relatively rare. It was the French that were the primary collectors, remember, so whenever we can get our hands on posters printed in Britain – especially when they’re as beautiful as Sumner’s – we’re over the moon! The earthy browns and greens in these posters make them a perfect pair mounted side by side, and their unique horizontal shape would fit well with the beautiful moldings and friezes in Craftsman homes. Vintage posters may not be the first type of art to come to mind for the Arts and Crafts home, but explore poster collections with examples which come from the period (roughly 1880-1920) and you will find many appropriate works of art.

Check out our Pinterest to see other great examples of Craftsman style posters!

This post was co-written by Emily Jackson, UC Berkeley Art History Student and Gallery Assistant, and  Elizabeth Norris, Owner Vintage European Posters

Vintage European Posters was established in 1997.
We are the West Coast’s Largest Dealer in Original Vintage Posters from France and the United States.
See us online anytime at and at our Berkeley Showroom OUTPOST 2201 Fourth Street, Tuesdays and Thursdays

As well as at pop up open weekends (sign our mailing list to receive updates about pop-ups)

This fall we will exhibit at the Pasadena Heritage’s Craftsman Weekend October 20-21

The Fall Hillsborough Antiques Show November 2-4


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