|Henry Chapman Mercer] is an extraordinary figure, a figure straight from the Renaissance.|
A gentleman scholar, Henry Chapman Mercer devoted his boundless
energy to a broad range of creative endeavors. He was an author, artist,
architect, archaeologist, antiquarian, and leader of the Arts and
Crafts movement, which advocated the handcrafting of decorative objects.
Mercer's dedication to conserving the past motivated many of his
diverse pursuits. As a young man, he became an archaeologist, excavating
Indian sites, writing scholarly tracts, and curating at the University
of Pennsylvania's new Museum of Science and Art. Mercer's impulse toward
preservation led him to protect old buildings in Bucks County and to
design concrete molding for fire-proof construction.
hand-made artifacts and tools, which were rapidly disappearing in the
industrial age. His collection, along with the building he constructed
to contain it, have since become the Mercer Museum.
A leader in the Arts
and Crafts movement, Mercer built the Moravian Tile and Pottery Works
to revive traditional methods of producing decorative tiles. He designed
all the tiles his firm produced during his lifetime.