Why did the men and women behind the Arts and Crafts movement want to introduce radical new ideas into design, manufacture and building?
Every generation wants to do things differently from its predecessors.
George Truefitt wrote in 1856, in a thinly disguised attack on Pugin and the Gothic Revival architects of the time ‘what would people say if, at the next exhibition of the Royal Academy, Sir Edwin Landseer, Dyce, Danby, Millais, Mulready, Webster, Eastlake, Stanfield, and the rest of our principal painters, were, instead of producing their original and very beautiful compositions, to send nothing but copies of old pictures? would such a thing be tolerated, however good the copies or originals? No. Neither should architects be allowed — or rather, I should say, be obliged — to copy from their old masters.’
The 'Romantic Movement' that arose throughout Europe during the nineteenth century emphasised the role of the emotions, and individuality. It became increasingly acceptable to hold original ideas, and to seek one's own aesthetic: rather than having to follow prevailing opinion and impress others.