The Hobby Horse Periodical
I stumbled across this publication entitled The Hobby Horse which was published by the Century Guild of Artists between 1884 and 1894. I haven’t come across it before but apparently it’s credited with being the first high quality magazine committed soley to the visual arts. Some view it as being the most iconic mouthpiece of the Arts and Crafts movement.
Contributors to The Hobby Horse included Edward Burne Jones, Ford Madox Brown, John Ruskin and Oscar Wilde; many of whom had no practical experience of the arts and crafts. Compiled from the perspective of the members of the Century Guild of Artists the magazine was packed with scholarly essays, paintings and woodcuts. Unlike other periodicals borne out of the 19 century such as The Yellow Book the Hobby Horse did not preach an aesthetic elitism.
The aesthetic values and tone of the magazine stand somewhere between the Utopian idealism of Morris and Ruskin and the specialized art for art’s sake coterie world of The Yellow Book and Savoy.
- (Codell J.F. “The Century Guild Hobby Horse“, Victorian Periodicals Review, Vol. 16, No. 2 1983 pp. 43-53)
I do love the woodcut printed cover (pictured above). With my growing interest in the Art and Crafts debate I’d be keen to find a couple of copies of this publication to peruse but I’ve a feeling that might be easier said than done. A trip to the British Library might be in order.
If you’re interested in finding out more about this publication and its historical significance you might find Matthew Tildesley’s thesis The Century Guild Hobby Horse & Oscar Wilde: A Study of British Little Magazines of interest.