With over 25 years of experience, we offer personalized, meticulously-crafted small-group tours of 19th- and 20th-Century art and architecture in Europe and America.
Elaine Hirschl Ellis, President
Ms. Ellis founded Arts & Crafts Tours in 1992 to examine the roots of the Arts & Crafts Movement where they began, in Britain. Her international associations have ensured that every tour – whether for an organization, group of friends, or especially planned individual travel itinerary – will be a unique, educational, and fun experience and they have earned the company high praise in this specialized field.
Her own background in the arts and crafts is extensive dating back to 1981 when she conceived and produced the exhibition, A Celebration of Quality: Gustav Stickley and The Craftsman Ideal, which contributed significantly to the re-evaluation of the work of America’s foremost Arts and Crafts designer, craftsman and philosopher. In 1987 Ms. Ellis was instrumental in establishing the Craftsman Farms Foundation. As the founding Chair, she organized the successful effort to acquire and preserve Craftsman Farms, the home of the designer Gustav Stickley. The property was officially opened in April 1990 and is now a highly successful house museum.
She was for many years Arts Consultant to Hometown Perry Iowa (HPI) and the Hotel Pattee for whom she produced two important international conferences on the Arts and Crafts Movement. She was their advisor on Grant Wood’s Main Street, HPI’s first exhibition organized in collaboration with the Brunnier Art Museum at Iowa State University. As Art Consultant to the Hotel Pattee, she oversaw the design of the William Morris and Gustav Stickley rooms and other arts and crafts design features at this nationally acclaimed hotel.
Ms. Ellis has a B.A. from the University of Michigan and an M.A. in American Studies from Columbia University. Among the places where she has lectured are Winterthur, the Los Angeles Conservancy, Pasadena Heritage, the Gamble House, The Center for American Culture Studies, Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association, and on the Queen Elizabeth II. She has been and is on the boards of the William Morris Society in the United States, the American Friends of the Arts and Crafts in Chipping Campden, and MOBIA, the Museum of Biblical Art. In 2007 she was elected an Associate Brother of the Art Workers Guild.
Gail Anderson Ettinger, Program Director
Prior to joining Arts & Crafts Tours, Ms. Ettinger was Manager of Meetings and Tours for the Society of Architectural Historians in Chicago, and among a number of programs, she was responsible for managing the Society’s annual meeting. This four-day event offered at least a dozen tours of the host city relating to historic and contemporary architecture. Additionally, Ms. Ettinger worked with architectural scholars and travel professionals on the Society’s extensive domestic and international travel program.
Ms. Ettinger has worked as a meeting and event planner for a variety of non-profit associations in topic areas as diverse as energy conservation, housing, gay and lesbian affairs, and banking. She spent five years in Washington at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Peyton Skipwith, Associate Director
Peyton Skipwith is a leading authority on British arts, both fine and decorative, of the 1870-1940 period. He retired in 2005 as Deputy Managing Director of The Fine Art Society in New Bond Street, where he had worked for forty-four years. During that time he curated or co-curated many exhibitions covering most aspects of British fine and decorative arts of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Among those were The Arts & Crafts Movement (1973), Jewellery and Jewellery Design 1850-1930 (1976), Sculpture in Britain Between the Wars (1987), Britain Between the Wars (2004), Sixty Paintings by Joseph Southall from the Alan M. Fortunoff Collection (2005).
Since retiring from the Fine Arts Society he has written a number of books, including for ACC Art Book’s design series, in conjunction with Brian Webb – Edward Bawden; Eric Ravilious; Paul & John Nash; John Piper; McKnight Kauffer; Claude Lovat Fraser; Harold Curwen & Oliver Simon -The Heyday of the Curwen Press; Peter Blake and David Gentleman. He and Webb have also co-produced Edward Bawden’s London and Edward Bawden’s Kew Gardens (both published by the Victoria & Albert Museum) and Edward Bawden’s Scrapbooks (Lund Humphries). They are currently working on the scrapbooks of Eric Ravilious. And most recently for the Court Barn Museum in Chipping Campden, they wrote and produced A is for Ashbee: An Arts and Crafts Alphabet.
He has lectured widely in Britain, Australia, and the U.S.A; in 2006 he was co-recipient of the Iris Award (New York) for his contribution to the knowledge of the decorative arts and in 2016 curated an exhibition of twentieth century British painting at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (London), a Past Master of the Art Workers’ Guild and current President of the Double Crown Club. His twenty years of correspondence with the renowned British artist Edward Bawden (1903-1989) will be published later this month at the end of 2017.