Born in Glasgow in 1834, Christopher Dresser was a designer and design theorist, now widly recognized for his development of the Anglo-Japanese style and was a pivitol figure in the Aethetic Movement.
His idiosyncratic style was symptomatic of Dresser’s keen eye for historic and foreign prototypes, which he searched out in London museums and international exhibitions. Throughout his career Dresser borrowed ideas from across the globe in his pursuit of innovative design. He was particularly interested in the grotesque, sources included non-Western civilisations such as Japan, China, Egypt, Central and South America.
His design produced a remarkable synthesis of influences of these cultures , whilst also reflecting the natural forms of Dresser’s botanical and architectural studies - themes which recur on designs throughout his career. Dresser was heavily, although not exclusively, influenced by traditional Japanese crafts that he had seen at the International Exhibition in 1862, and later on his travels to Japan in 1876–7.
In his book on Japan, Dresser wrote, ‘No people but the Japanese have understood the value of colour in metal compositions. We make steel fenders, coal scuttles, tin kettles, and iron gates; but we have never fully realized the fact that by producing metal alloys, and combining these with pure metals, a world of colours is open to us.’