Herbert Horne

*Image found on: https://alchetron.com/Herbert-Horne

Herbert Horne, born in London in 1864, was raised by an architect, Horace, and his mother, Hannah. While coming of age, Horne looked up to his father and chose to follow in his artistic footsteps; he began a partnership at a young age with an esteemed architect, Mackmurdo, who set out to prove that architecture was an art, not a laborious trade (Crawford). This was a common debate during this period and years prior. Although mediums such as sculpture and architecture do take copious amounts of physical work, the creative and intellectual thinking behind the work is what should be appreciated. Even today, buildings with innovative architecture stand out to us expressively and artistically rather than as a work-demanding craft. Horne also worked with textile design and wall coverings, but his work didn’t stop there. Horne and Mackmurdo co-published a magazine, The Century Guild Hobby Horse, in which Horne would write poetry delving into both religion and thoughtful logic (Crawford). He contributed to the magazine by designing it with original typefaces, prints, and designs. As years passed, Horne and Mackmurdo grew distant in the early 1890s due to Horne furthering himself from architecture and moving readily towards critical writing and art dealings. He worked with men like Roger Fry, a very well-known art critic at the time. As his interest in art history and dealings grew, he made his way to Florence, where he found many opportunities for his newfound passion. Horne’s name became increasingly popular after writing a monograph on Botticelli, an early Italian Renaissance painter. People went as far as to say Horne was “the most accomplished historian of art whom this country has ever produced,” (Crawford). Roger Fry attested to his greatness in a chronicle in which he praised Horne for being able to combine two qualities that are rarely found in one individual. He further explains that it was the “aesthetic sensibility of the highest order–at least within the narrow limits of the art which he loved–and had the unfailing patience in the acquisition of facts of the man of science,” (Fry).
Horne’s main goal during his career was to convey ideas of rationalism that were prevalent during the Florentine Renaissance (Morozzi). At the time, many people across Europe were still fixated on using religion as a basis for their thinking. Rationalism shifted this perspective to focus on the reality of the natural world through logic and knowledge. Because of Horne’s vast knowledge of art history, specifically in Italy, he was able to take Renaissance motives of enlightenment and apply them to his work. In his book designs, he often includes direct references to nature through the visuals of trees, birds, and other animals. He used minimal color in his prints, mostly black and white, but a few included vibrant reds or yellows. The rather simple color scheme can also be representative of his prints. There is clean line-work within the borders and rather effortless designs such as a fox, deer, and rabbit encapsulated in nature. The directness of his work alludes to his ideas about the explicitness of scientific thinking. His beliefs in rationalism continued to take the world by storm which is still relevant today in the realm of modern science.
Although having financial burdens, in his last years he was able to purchase the fifteenth-century Palazzo Corsi on the corner of the via de’ Benci (Crawford). Within the space of this building, he dedicated his time to restoring it to mimic an old Renaissance home using accurate period furniture and art that he had collected during his life. This was typical of Horne to always take inspiration from not only Renaissance ideas, but also styles, as seen in the Church of the Ascension that he designed in the 19th century. Unfortunately, Horne could not complete the full restoration of his home before his death in 1916. Even though he was not able to see his final work completed, many can argue that he not only stood for Renaissance ideas but was a Renaissance man himself through his many artistic capabilities.





Crawford, A. (2004, September 23). Oxford Art Online. NCSU Library. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from https://www-oxforddnb-com.prox.lib.ncsu.edu/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-37570 

Fry, R. (1916, May). JSTOR. NCSU Library. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from https://www-jstor-org.prox.lib.ncsu.edu/stable/860236?searchText=Herbert%2BHorne&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3DHerbert%2BHorne%26utm_source%3Daiw%26so%3Drel&ab_segments=0%2Fbasic_search_gsv2%2Fcontrol&refreqid=fastly-default%3Ad96023f22c40405c037bdb603af5a5a6&seq=2 

Morozzi, L. (2003). Oxford Art Online. NCSU Library. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from https://www-oxfordartonline-com.prox.lib.ncsu.edu/groveart/view/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.001.0001/oao-9781884446054-e-7000038970?rskey=JgIZ4C&result=1