British socialist artist Walter Crane

From British daily The Morning Star:

The art of celebration

Thursday 30 April 2009

Keith Flett

Walter Crane (1845-1915) was a leading British artist who is perhaps now best remembered for his association with the socialist movement.

He is also directly connected with how we visualise May Day celebrations, as he designed one of the most well-known posters for the first May Day festival in 1895.

May Day poster by Walter Crane

If you are based in northern England or plan to head there over the next few weeks, there is an excellent free exhibition of Crane’s work at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester.

The exhibition provides a lot of detail about Crane’s artistic methods and style but also covers a wide range of his political work.

Crane was one of those whose political activism straddled the Chartist years – he was apprenticed to the republican Chartist WJ Linton in the late 1850s – and the development of the Independent Labour Party (ILP) in the 1890s.

He was associated with two giants of the British left, William Morris and Robert Blatchford, and was clearly influenced by both.

The Manchester exhibition displays several pieces of imagery that Crane designed for May Day 1895.

French unions expecting record May Day marches: here.

Marxism in Britain: here.

9 thoughts on “British socialist artist Walter Crane

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