W.A.S. Benson

William Arthur Smith Benson

W.A.S. Benson was an English architect and designer who became famous for his extraordinary designs of domestic lighting. He opened a workshop for the production of turned metalwork in 1880 with encouragement from his friend William Morris. Three years later he inaugurated his showroom on New Bond Street in London. Founding member of the Art Workers Guild in 1887, he published 'Elements of handicraft and Design' in 1893. He directed the Morris and Co. furniture department after Morris died in 1896. Unlike others in the Arts and Crafts Movement, his lighting and metalwork were produced in large numbers because they became extremely popular at a time where electricity was slowly replacing gas and oil. Benson remained quite famous during the first decade of the XXth century, exhibiting several times at the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society and participating in famous projects like the Savoy Hotel in London.