The Shakers - a religious community whose origins are founded in the eighteenth century - continue to exert an influence upon twenty-first century life, not for their religious teachings but rather through the simple, yet elegant aesthetic they developed for the everyday artefacts they designed for themselves. "Selling Shaker" aims to explore this influence and chart its evolution throughout the course of the twentieth century via the interest shown by the media, art institutions and general public in the Shaker story. Whilst other books have sought to examine the origins of the religious or aesthetic basis of the movement throughout the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, this book seeks to deal with the Shaker phenomenon from a different angle. "Selling Shaker" examines the means by which the Shakers have been 'promoted' during the course of the last century by scholars and museum academics, in order to establish a 'national' style.
The book follows this process from high art to popular culture influences, illustrating how the Shaker style has entered the general design consciousness, and in doing so, has become a generic style largely divorced from the original Shaker aesthetic. Using a variety of sources ranging from museum catalogues to contemporary design magazines, "Selling Shaker" aims to tell the story of the rise and rise of the Shaker phenomenon.
Stephen Bowe is a lecturer at the Liverpool School of Art and Design. Peter Richmond lectures on architectural design and history at the University of Liverpool and is the author of Marketing Modernisms: The Architecture and Influences of Charles Reilly (Liverpool University Press, 2001).