May Day 1926 tea towel
From the late 19th century to the end of his life, the socialist illustrator Walter Crane (1845-1915) produced annual illustrations celebrating May Day for the magazine The Clarion. They continued to be much reproduced after his death and this one was incorporated into a poster as late as 1926. As a member of the Arts and Crafts movement Crane was both in favour of social reform at the same time as harking back to a pre-industrial utopia. Crane wrote: "Socialists, therefore, who desire to build up a larger and fuller human life, based upon collective ownership of the means of material existence in a co-operative commonwealth, cannot afford to leave Art out of account, as the great source of joy, the harmonising influence of beauty, the spirit of order and proportion, at once creative and adaptive, capable of lifting men's thoughts on to the loftiest plane, and yet, withal, a sweet familiar and domestic spirit, cheering and comforting; and gladdening the eyes with form and colour, as it sheds its refining influence everywhere."