WILLIAM MORRIS (24 March 1834 – 3 October 1896) was an English
textile designer , poet , novelist , translator , and socialist
activist . Associated with the British
Arts and Crafts Movement
Morris is recognised as one of the most significant cultural figures
Victorian Britain ; though best known in his lifetime as a poet, he
posthumously became better known for his designs. Founded in 1955, the
William Morris Society
* 1 Early life
* 1.1 Youth: 1834–52
* 1.2 Oxford and the
* 2 Career and fame
* 2.1 Red House and the Firm: 1859–65 * 2.2 Queen Square and The Earthly Paradise: 1865–70 * 2.3 Kelmscott Manor and Iceland: 1870–75 * 2.4 Textile experimentation and political embrace: 1875–80
* 3 Later life
* 3.1 Merton Abbey and the Democratic Federation: 1881–84 * 3.2 Socialist League: 1884–89 * 3.3 The Kelmscott Press and Morris\' final years: 1889–96
* 4 Personal life
* 5 Work
* 5.1 Literature * 5.2 Textile design * 5.3 Book illustration and design
* 6 Legacy
* 6.1 Notable collections and house museums
* 7 Literary works
* 7.1 Collected poetry, fiction, and essays * 7.2 Translations * 7.3 Published lectures and papers
* 8 Gallery
* 9 See also
* 10 References
* 10.1 Footnotes * 10.2 Bibliography
* 11 Further reading * 12 External links
Morris was born at Elm House in
As a child, Morris was kept largely housebound at Elm House by his
mother; there, he spent much time reading, favouring the novels of
Walter Scott . Aged 6, Morris moved with his family to the Georgian
Italianate mansion at Woodford Hall, Woodford,
In 1847, Morris's father died unexpectedly. From this point, the
family relied upon continued income from the copper mines at Devon
Great Consols , and sold Woodford Hall to move into the smaller Water
House . In February 1848 Morris began his studies at Marlborough
Marlborough, Wiltshire , where he gained a reputation as an
eccentric nicknamed "Crab". He despised his time there, being bullied,
bored, and homesick. He did use the opportunity to visit many of the
prehistoric sites of Wiltshire, such as
OXFORD AND THE BIRMINGHAM SET: 1852–56
In June 1852 Morris entered
At the college, Morris met fellow first-year undergraduate Edward
Burne-Jones , who became his lifelong friend and collaborator.
Although from very different backgrounds, they found that they had a
shared attitude to life, both being keenly interested in
Anglo-Catholicism and Arthurianism . Through Burne-Jones, Morris
joined a group of undergraduates from
Morris was heavily influenced by the writings of the art critic John
Ruskin , being particularly inspired by his chapter "On the Nature of
Gothic Architecture" in the second volume of The Stones of
Both he and Burne-Jones were influenced by the Romanticist milieu and the Anglo-Catholic movement, and decided to become clergymen in order to found a monastery where they could live a life of chastity and dedication to artistic pursuit, akin to that of the contemporary Nazarene movement . However, as time went on Morris became increasingly critical of Anglican doctrine and the idea faded. In summer 1854, Morris travelled to Belgium to look at Medieval paintings, and in July 1855 went with Burne-Jones and Fulford across northern France, visiting Medieval churches and cathedrals. It was on this trip that he and Burne-Jones committed themselves to "a life of art". For Morris, this decision resulted in a strained relationship with his family, who believed that he should have entered either commerce or the clergy. On a subsequent visit to Birmingham, Morris discovered Thomas Malory 's Le Morte d\'Arthur , which became a core Arthurian text for him and Burne-Jones. In January 1856, the Set began publication of The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine , designed to contain "mainly Tales, Poetry, friendly critiques and social articles". Mainly funded by Morris, who briefly served as editor and heavily contributed to it with his own stories, poems, reviews and articles, the magazine lasted for twelve issues, and garnered praise from Tennyson and Ruskin.
APPRENTICESHIP, THE PRE-RAPHAELITES, AND MARRIAGE: 1856–59
Morris's painting La belle Iseult, also inaccurately called Queen Guinevere, is his only surviving easel painting, now in the Tate Gallery , 1858.
Having passed his finals and been awarded a BA, Morris began an
apprenticeship with the Oxford-based Neo-Gothic architect George
Edmund Street in January 1856. His apprenticeship focused on
architectural drawing, and there he was placed under the supervision
of the young architect
Philip Webb , who became a close friend.
Morris soon relocated to Street's London office, in August 1856 moving
into a flat in
Morris became increasingly fascinated with the idyllic Medievalist
depictions of rural life which appeared in the paintings of the
Pre-Raphaelites, and spent large sums of money purchasing such
artworks. Burne-Jones shared this interest, but took it further by
becoming an apprentice to one of the foremost
Morris also continued writing poetry and began designing illuminated
manuscripts and embroidered hangings. In March 1857, Bell and Dandy
published a book of Morris's poems, The Defence of Guenevere, which
was largely self-funded by the author. It did not sell well and
garnered few reviews, most of which were unsympathetic. Disconcerted,
Morris would not publish again for a further eight years. In October
1857 Morris met
Jane Burden , a woman from a poor working-class
background, at a theatre performance and asked her to model for him.
Smitten with her, he entered into a relationship with her and they
were engaged in spring 1858; Burden would later admit however that she
never loved Morris. They were married in a low-key ceremony held at
St Michael at the North Gate
CAREER AND FAME
RED HOUSE AND THE FIRM: 1859–65
Red House in Bexleyheath; it is now owned by The National Trust and open to visitors
Morris desired a new home for himself and his wife, resulting in the
construction of the Red House in the Kentish hamlet of Upton near
After construction, Morris invited friends to visit, most notably
Burne-Jones and his wife Georgiana , as well as Rossetti and his wife
Lizzie Siddal . They aided him in painting murals on the furniture,
walls, and ceilings, much of it based on Arthurian tales, the Trojan
War , and
In April 1861, Morris founded a decorative arts company, Morris, Marshall, Faulkner instead they sought to return completely to Medieval Gothic methods of craftmanship. The products created by the Firm included furniture, architectural carving, metalwork, stained glass windows, and murals. Their stained glass windows proved a particular success in the firm's early years as they were in high demand for the surge in the Neo-Gothic construction and refurbishment of churches, many of which were commissioned by the architect George Frederick Bodley . Despite Morris's anti-elitist ethos, the Firm soon became increasingly popular and fashionable with the bourgeoisie, particularly following their exhibit at the 1862 International Exhibition in South Kensington , where they received press attention and medals of commendation. However, they faced much opposition from established design companies, particularly those belonging to the Neo-Classical school. Design for Trellis wallpaper, 1862
Morris was slowly abandoning painting, recognising that his work
lacked a sense of movement; none of his paintings are dated later than
1862. Instead he focused his energies on designing wallpaper
patterns, the first being "Trellis", designed in 1862. His designs
would be produced from 1864 by Jeffrey and Co. of
Meanwhile, Morris's family continued to grow. In January 1861, Morris and Janey's first daughter was born: named Jane Alice Morris, she was commonly known as "Jenny". Jenny was followed in March 1862 by the birth of their second daughter, Mary "May" Morris . Morris was a caring father to his daughters, and years later they both recounted having idyllic childhoods. However, there were problems in Morris's marriage as Janey became increasingly close to Rossetti, who often painted her. It is unknown if their affair was ever sexual, although by this point other members of the group were noticing Rossetti and Janey's closeness.
Imagining the creation of an artistic community at Upton, Morris helped develop plans for a second house to be constructed adjacent to Red House in which Burne-Jones could live with his family; the plans were abandoned when Burne-Jones' son Philip died from scarlet fever . By 1864, Morris had become increasingly tired of life at Red House, being particularly unhappy with the 3 to 4 hours spent commuting to his London workplace on a daily basis. He sold Red House, and in autumn 1865 moved with his family to No. 26 Queen Square in Bloomsbury, the same building to which the Firm had moved its base of operations earlier in the summer.
QUEEN SQUARE AND THE EARTHLY PARADISE: 1865–70
At Queen Square, the Morris family lived in a flat directly above the Firm's shop. They were joined by Janey's sister Bessie Burton and a number of household servants. Meanwhile, changes were afoot at the Firm as Faulkner left, and to replace him they employed a business manager, Warrington Taylor, who would remain with them till 1866. Taylor pulled the Firm's finances into order and spent much time controlling Morris and ensuring that he worked to schedule. During these years the Firm carried out a number of high-profile designs; from September 1866 to January 1867, they redecorated the Armoury and Tapestry Room in St. James\' Palace , in the latter year also designing the Green Dining Room at the South Kensington Museum (it is now the Morris Room at the Victoria and Albert Museum). The Firm's work received increasing interest from people in the United States, resulting in Morris's acquaintance with Henry James and Charles Eliot Norton . However, despite its success, the Firm was not turning over a large net profit, and this, coupled with the decreasing value of Morris' stocks, meant that he had to decrease his spending.
Janey's relationship with Rossetti had continued, and by the late
1860s gossip regarding their affair had spread about London, where
they were regularly seen spending time together. Morris biographer
Fiona MacCarthy argued that it was likely that Morris had learned of
and accepted the existence of their affair by 1870. In this year he
developed an affectionate friendship with Aglaia Coronie, the daughter
of wealthy Greek refugees, although there is no evidence that they had
an affair. Meanwhile, Morris's relationship with his mother had
improved, and he would regularly take his wife and children to visit
her at her house in
In August 1866 Morris joined the Burne-Jones family on their holiday
Lymington , while in August 1867 both families holidayed together
in Oxford. In August 1867 the Morrises holidayed in
Morris had continued to devote much time to writing poetry. In 1867
Bell and Dandy published Morris's epic poem, The Life and Death of
Jason, at his own expense. The book was a retelling of the ancient
Greek myth of the hero
KELMSCOTT MANOR AND ICELAND: 1870–75
Main Entrance to Kelmscott Manor
By 1870, Morris had become a public figure in Britain, resulting in
repeated press requests for photographs, which he despised. That
year, he also reluctantly agreed to sit for a portrait by
George Frederic Watts . Morris was keenly
interested in Icelandic literature, having befriended the Icelandic
Eiríkr Magnússon . Together they produced prose
translations of the
Eddas and Sagas for publication in English.
Morris also developed a keen interest in creating handwritten
illuminated manuscripts, producing 18 such books between 1870 and
1875, the first of which was A Book of Verse, completed as a birthday
present for Georgina Burne-Jones. 12 of these 18 were handwritten
copies of Nordic tales such as
Halfdan the Black ,
Frithiof the Bold ,
and The Dwellers of Eyr. Morris deemed calligraphy to be an art form,
and taught himself both Roman and italic script, as well as learning
how to produce gilded letters. In November 1872 he published Love is
Enough, a poetic drama based on a story in the Medieval Welsh text,
By early summer 1871, Morris began to search for a house outside
London where his children could spend time away from the city's
pollution. He settled on
Kelmscott Manor in the village of
Leaving Jane and his children with Rossetti at Kelmscott, in July
1871 Morris left for
Morris and Burne-Jones then spent time with one of the Firm's
patrons, the wealthy
George Howard, 9th Earl of Carlisle and his wife
Rosalind, at their Medieval home in
Naworth Castle ,
Now in complete control of the Firm, Morris took an increased interest in the process of textile dyeing and entered into a co-operative agreement with Thomas Wardle , a silk dyer who operated the Hencroft Works in Leek, Staffordshire . As a result, Morris would spend time with Wardle at his home on various occasions between summer 1875 and spring 1878. Deeming the colours to be of inferior quality, Morris rejected the chemical aniline dyes which were then predominant, instead emphasising the revival of organic dyes, such as indigo for blue, walnut shells and roots for brown, and cochineal , kermes , and madder for red. Living and working in this industrial environment, he gained a personal understanding of production and the lives of the proletariat, and was disgusted by the poor living conditions of workers and the pollution caused by industry; these factors greatly influenced his political views. After learning the skills of dyeing, in the late 1870s Morris turned his attention to weaving, experimenting with silk weaving at Queen's Square.
In the Spring of 1877, the Firm opened a store at No. 449 Oxford
Street and obtained new staff who were able to improve its
professionalism; as a result, sales increased and its popularity grew.
By 1880, Morris "> Portrait of
Morris became politically active in this period, coming to be
associated with the radicalist current within British liberalism . He
joined the Eastern Question Association (EQA) and was appointed the
group's treasurer in November 1876. EQA had been founded by
campaigners associated with the centre-left Liberal Party who opposed
However, his discontent with the British liberal movement grew
following the election of the Liberal Party's William Ewart Gladstone
to the Premiership in 1880. Morris was particularly angered that
Gladstone\'s government did not reverse the Disraeli regime's
occupation of the Transvaal , introduced the Coercion Bill , and
Bombardment of Alexandria
In 1876, Morris visited
Burford Church in
MERTON ABBEY AND THE DEMOCRATIC FEDERATION: 1881–84
The Pond at Merton Abbey by Lexden Lewis Pocock is an idyllic representation of the works in the time of Morris
In summer 1881, Morris took out a lease on the seven-acre former silk
weaving factory at
Merton Abbey Mills , in Merton , Southwest London.
Moving his workshops to the site, the premises were used for weaving,
dyeing, and creating stained glass; within three years, 100 craftsmen
would be employed there. Working conditions at the Abbey were better
than at most Victorian factories. However, despite Morris's ideals,
there was little opportunity for the workers to display their own
individual creativity. Morris had initiated a system of profit
sharing among the Firm's upper clerks, however this did not include
the majority of workers, who were instead employed on a piecework
basis. Morris was aware that, in retaining the division between
employer and employed, the company failed to live up to his own
egalitarian ideals, but defended this, asserting that it was
impossible to run a socialist company within a competitive capitalist
economy. The Firm itself was expanding, opening up a store in
Janey's relationship with Rossetti had continued through a correspondence and occasional visits, although she found him extremely paranoid and was upset by his addiction to chloral . She last saw him in 1881, and he died in April the following year. Morris described his mixed feelings toward his deceased friend by stating that he had "some of the very greatest qualities of genius, most of them indeed; what a great man he would have been but for the arrogant misanthropy which marred his work, and killed him before his time". In August 1883, Janey would be introduced to the poet Wilfrid Scawen Blunt , with whom she embarked on a second affair, which Morris might have been aware of.
In January 1881 Morris was involved in the establishment of the
Radical Union , an amalgam of radical working-class groups which hoped
to rival the Liberals, and became a member of its executive committee.
However, he soon rejected liberal radicalism completely and moved
toward socialism . In this period, British socialism was a small,
fledgling and vaguely defined movement, with only a few hundred
adherents. Britain's first socialist party, the Democratic Federation
(DF), had been founded in 1881 by
Henry Hyndman , an adherent of the
socio-political ideology of
In May 1883, Morris was appointed to the DF's executive, and was soon
elected to the position of treasurer. Devoting himself to the
socialist cause, he regularly lectured at meetings across Britain,
hoping to gain more converts, although was regularly criticised for
doing so by the mainstream press. In November 1883 he was invited to
University College, Oxford , on the subject of "Democracy and
Art" and there began espousing socialism; this shocked and embarrassed
many members of staff, earning national press coverage. With other DF
members, he travelled to
Blackburn, Lancashire in February 1884 amid
the great cotton strike, where he lectured on socialism to the
strikers. The following month he marched in a central London
demonstration commemorating the first anniversary of Marx's death and
the thirteenth anniversary of the
Morris aided the DF using his artistic and literary talents; he
designed the group's membership card, and helped author their
His socialist activism monopolised his time, forcing him to abandon a
translation of the Persian
In 1884 the DF renamed itself the
Social Democratic Federation (SDF)
and underwent an internal reorganisation. However, the group was
facing an internal schism between those (such as Hyndman), who argued
for a parliamentary path toward socialism, and those (like Morris) who
Houses of Parliament
SOCIALIST LEAGUE: 1884–89
Left: the cover of the Socialist League's manifesto of 1885 featured art by Morris. Right: detail of Woodpecker tapestry, 1885.
In December 1884, Morris founded the Socialist League (SL) with other
SDF defectors. He composed the SL's manifesto with Bax, describing
their position as that of "Revolutionary International Socialism",
advocating proletarian internationalism and world revolution while
rejecting the concept of socialism in one country . In this, he
committed himself to "making Socialists" by educating, organising, and
agitating to establish a strong socialist movement; calling on
activists to boycott elections, he hoped that socialists would take
part in a proletariat revolution and help to establish a socialist
society . Bax taught Morris more about
As the leading figure in the League Morris embarked on a series of
speeches and talks on street corners, in working men's clubs, and in
lecture theatres across England and Scotland. He also visited Dublin
, there offering his support for
Irish nationalism , and formed a
branch of the League at his
Morris oversaw production of the League's monthly—soon to become
weekly—newspaper, Commonweal , serving as its editor for six years,
during which time he kept it financially afloat. First published in
February 1885, it would contain contributions from such prominent
socialists as Engels, Shaw,
Paul Lafargue ,
Wilhelm Liebknecht , and
Karl Kautsky , with Morris also regularly writing articles and poems
for it. In Commonweal he serialised a 13-episode poem, The Pilgrims
of Hope , which was set in the period of the
From January to October 1890, Morris serialised his novel, News from Nowhere , in Commonweal, resulting in improved circulation for the paper. In March 1891 it was published in book form, before being translated into French, Italian, and German by 1898 and becoming a classic among Europe's socialist community. Combining utopian socialism and soft science fiction , the book tells the tale of a contemporary socialist, William Guest, who falls asleep and awakes in the mid-20th century, discovering a future society based on common ownership and democratic control of the means of production . In this society there is no private property, no big cities, no authority, no monetary system, no divorce, no courts, no prisons, and no class systems; it was a depiction of Morris' ideal socialist society.
Morris had also continued with his translation work; in April 1887,
Reeves and Turner published the first volume of Morris' translation of
At the League's Fourth Conference in May 1888, factional divisions
became increasingly apparent between Morris' anti-parliamentary
socialists, the parliamentary socialists, and the anarchists; the
THE KELMSCOTT PRESS AND MORRIS\' FINAL YEARS: 1889–96
Morris (right) with Burne-Jones, 1890
The work of Morris those causes he championed including the
preservation of St. Mary\'s Church in Oxford , Blythburgh Church in
Although his socialist activism had decreased, he remained involved
In December 1888, the
Chiswick Press published Morris' The House of
the Wolfings , a fantasy story set in Iron Age Europe which provides a
reconstructed portrait of the lives of Germanic-speaking Gothic
tribes. It contained both prose and aspects of poetic verse. A
The Roots of the Mountains , followed in 1890. Over the
coming years he would publish a string of other poetic works; The
Story of the Glittering Plain (1890), The Wood Beyond the World
(1894), The Well at the World\'s End (1896), The Water of the Wondrous
Isles (1897) and
The Sundering Flood
In January 1891, Morris began renting a cottage near to Kelmscott House, No. 16 Upper Mall in Hammersmith, which would serve as the first premises of the Kelmscott Press, before relocating to the neighbouring No. 14 in May, that same month in which the company was founded. Devoted to the production of books which he deemed beautiful, Morris was artistically influenced by the illustrated manuscripts and early printed books of Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Before publishing its first work, Morris ensured that he had mastered the techniques of printing and secured supplies of hand-made paper and vellum which would be necessary for production. Over the next seven years, they would publish 66 volumes. The first of these would be one of Morris' own novels, The Story of the Glittering Plain, which was published in May 1891 and soon sold out. The Kelmscott Press would go on to publish 23 of Morris' books, more than those of any other author. The press also published editions of works by Keats, Shelley, Ruskin, and Swinburne, as well as copies of various Medieval texts. A number of the Press' books contained illustrations provided by Burne-Jones. The Press' magnum opus would be the Kelmscott Chaucer, which had taken years to complete and included 87 illustrations from Burne-Jones. Morris still remained firmly in an employer relation with those working at the Press, although organised outings for them and paid them above average wages.
By the early 1890s, Morris was increasingly ill and living largely as
an invalid; aside from his gout , he also exhibited signs of epilepsy.
In August 1891, he took his daughter Jenny on a tour of Northern
France to visit the Medieval churches and cathedrals. Back in
England, he spent an increasing amount of time at
Seeking treatment from the prominent doctor
William Broadbent , he was
prescribed a holiday in the coastal town of
Morris' biographer E.P. Thompson described him as having a "robust bearing, and a slight roll in his walk", alongside a "rough beard" and "disordered hair". The author Henry James described Morris as "short, burly, corpulent, very careless and unfinished in his dress ... He has a loud voice and a nervous restless manner and a perfectly unaffected and businesslike address. His talk indeed is wonderfully to the point and remarkable for clear good sense." Morris' first biographer Mackail described him as being both "a typical Englishman" and "a typical Londoner of the middle class" albeit one who was transformed into "something quite individual" through the "force of his genius". MacCarthy described Morris' lifestyle as being "late Victorian, mildly bohemian, but bourgeois", with Mackail commenting that he exhibited many of the traits of the bourgeois Victorian class: "industrious, honest, fair-minded up their lights, but unexpansive and unsympathetic". Although he generally disliked children, Morris also exhibited a strong sense of responsibility toward his family. Mackail nevertheless thought he "was interested in things much more than in people" and that while he did have "lasting friendships" and "deep affections", he did not allow people to "penetrate to the central part of him."
Politically, Morris was a staunch revolutionary socialist and
anti-imperialist, and although raised a Christian he came to identify
as a non-religious atheist . He came to reject state socialism and
large centralized control, instead emphasising localised
administration within a socialist society. Later political activist
Derek Wall suggested that Morris could be classified as an
ecosocialist . Morris was greatly influenced by
Morris's behaviour was often erratic. He was of a nervous
disposition, and throughout his life relied on networks of male
friends to aid him in dealing with this. Morris' friends nicknamed
him "Topsy" after a character in Uncle Tom\'s Cabin . He had a wild
temper, and when sufficiently enraged could suffer seizures and
blackouts. Rossetti was known to taunt Morris with the intention of
trying to enrage him for the amusement of himself and their other
Fiona MacCarthy suggests that Morris might have
suffered from a form of Tourette\'s syndrome as he exhibited some of
the symptoms. In later life he suffered from gout , a common
complaint among middle-class males in the Victorian period. Morris's
ethos was that one should "have nothing in your houses that you do not
know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." He also held to the
view that "No work which cannot be done with pleasure in the doing is
worth doing", and adopted as his personal motto "If I can" from the
fifteenth-century Flemish painter
Jan van Eyck
Left: The Nature of Gothic by
Morris began publishing poetry and short stories in 1856 through the
Oxford and Cambridge Magazine which he founded with his friends and
financed while at university. His first volume, The Defence of
Guenevere and Other Poems (1858 ), was the first book of
Eiríkr Magnússon in 1868, and began to learn the
In the last nine years of his life, Morris wrote a series of
imaginative fictions usually referred to as the "prose romances".
These novels – including
The Wood Beyond the World
On the other hand,
L. Sprague de Camp
Early fantasy writers like Lord Dunsany ,
E. R. Eddison and James
Branch Cabell were familiar with Morris's romances. The Wood Beyond
the World is considered to have heavily influenced
C. S. Lewis
Left: Cabbage and vine tapestry, 1879. Right: Design for "Tulip and Willow" indigo -discharge wood-block printed fabric, 1873. A Wooden Pattern for Textile Printing from William Morris's Company
During his lifetime, Morris produced items in a range of crafts, mainly those to do with furnishing, including over 600 designs for wall-paper, textiles, and embroideries, over 150 for stained glass windows, three typefaces, and around 650 borders and ornamentations for the Kelmscott Press. He emphasised the idea that the design and production of an item should not be divorced from one another, and that where possible those creating items should be designer-craftsmen, thereby both designing and manufacturing their goods. In the field of textile design, Morris revived a number of dead techniques, and insisted on the use of good quality raw materials, almost all natural dyes, and hand processing. He also observed the natural world first hand to gain a basis for his designs, and insisted on learning the techniques of production prior to producing a design.
Mackail asserted that Morris became "a manufacturer not because he wished to make money, but because he wished to make the things he manufactured." Morris & Co.'s designs were fashionable among Britain's upper and middle-classes, with biographer Fiona MacCarthy asserting that they had become "the safe choice of the intellectual classes, an exercise in political correctitude." The company's unique selling point was the range of different items that it produced, as well as the ethos of artistic control over production that it emphasised.
It is likely that much of Morris's preference for medieval textiles
was formed – or crystallised – during his brief apprenticeship
with G. E. Street. Street had co-written a book on Ecclesiastical
He was also fond of hand knotted Persian carpets and advised the South Kensington Museum in the acquisition of fine Kerman carpets .
Morris taught himself embroidery, working with wool on a frame custom-built from an old example. Once he had mastered the technique he trained his wife Jane, her sister Bessie Burden and others to execute designs to his specifications. When "embroideries of all kinds" were offered through Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and the period of incessant work at the dye-vat (1875–76) was followed by a period during which he was absorbed in the production of textiles (1877–78), and more especially in the revival of carpet-weaving as a fine art.
Morris's patterns for woven textiles, some of which were also machine made under ordinary commercial conditions, included intricate double-woven furnishing fabrics in which two sets of warps and wefts are interlinked to create complex gradations of colour and texture. Morris long dreamed of weaving tapestries in the medieval manner, which he called "the noblest of the weaving arts." In September 1879 he finished his first solo effort, a small piece called "Cabbage and Vine".
BOOK ILLUSTRATION AND DESIGN
Nineteenth and twentieth century avant-garde artistic movements took an interest in the typographical arts, greatly enriching book design and illustration. In the late nineteenth century, William Morris founded the Arts and Crafts movement, which emphasized the value of traditional craft skills that seemed to be disappearing in the mass industrial age. His designs, like the work of the Pre-Raphaelite painters with whom he was associated, referred frequently to medieval motifs. In 1891 he founded the Kelmscott Press, which by the time it closed in 1898 had produced over fifty works using traditional printing methods, a hand-driven press and hand-made paper. They included his masterpiece, an edition of the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer with illustrations by Edward Burne-Jones. Morris also invented three distinctive typefaces - Golden, Troy, and Chaucer, with the text being framed with intricate floral borders similar to illuminated medieval manuscripts. His work inspired many small private presses in the following century.
Morris’s aesthetic and social values became a leading force in the Arts and Crafts Movement. The Kelmscott Press influenced much of the fine press movement in England and the United States during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It brought the need for books that were aesthetic objects as well as words to the attention of the reading and publishing worlds.
At Kelmscott Press the perfection of book-making was under his constant supervision and practical assistance. It was his ambition to produce a perfect work to restore all the beauty of illuminated lettering, richness of gilding and grace of binding that used to make a volume the treasure of a king. His efforts were constantly directed towards giving the world at least one book that exceeded anything that had ever appeared. Morris designed his type after the best examples of early printers, what he called his “golden type” which he copied after Jenson, Parautz, Coburger and others. With this in mind, Morris took equal care on the choice of his paper which he adapted to his subject with the same care that governed his selection of material for binding. As a result, few but only the wealthy could purchase his lavish works, mainly due to how intrinsic his work was. However, he realized that creating works in the manner of the middle ages was difficult in a profit-grinding society.
Morris family tombstone at Kelmscott , designed by Webb
President of the
William Morris Society
He was a major contributor to the revival of traditional British
textile arts and methods of production. Morris' ethos of production
was an influence on
Aymer Vallance was commissioned to produce the first biography of Morris, published in 1897, after Morris' death, as per the latter's wishes. This presented the creation of SPAB as Morris' greatest achievement. Morris's next biographer was Burne-Jones' son-in-law John William Mackail , who authored the two-volume Life of William Morris (1899) in which he provided a sympathetic portrayal of Morris that largely omitted his political activities, treating them as a passing phase that Morris overcame.
MacCarthy's biography, William Morris: A Life for Our Time, was first
published in 1994 and a paperback edition was published by Faber &
Faber in 2010. For the 2013
MacCarthy curated the "Anarchy & Beauty" exhibition—a commemoration of Morris' legacy—for the National Portrait Gallery in 2014, for which she recruited around 70 artists who were required to undertake a test regarding Morris' News from Nowhere to be accepted. Writing for the Guardian prior to the opening of the exhibition on 16 October 2014, MacCarthy asserted:
Morris has exerted a powerful influence on thinking about art and design over the past century. He has been the constant niggle in the conscience. How can we combat all this luxury and waste? What drove him into revolutionary activism was his anger and shame at the injustices within society. He burned with guilt at the fact that his "good fortune only" allowed him to live in beautiful surroundings and to pursue the work he adored.
"Anarchy "> The blue plaque erected outside the Red House
A number of galleries and museums house important collections of
Morris's work and decorative items commissioned from
Morris & Co. The
William Morris Gallery
The former "green dining room" at the Victoria and Albert Museum is now its "Morris Room". The V&A's British Galleries house other decorative works by Morris and his associates.
One of the meeting rooms in the Oxford Union, decorated with the wallpaper in his style, is named the Morris Room.
Wightwick Manor in the West Midlands , England, is a notable example
Morris & Co. style, with original Morris wallpapers and
fabrics, De Morgan tiles, and
The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San
Marino, California acquired the collection of Morris materials amassed
by Sanford and Helen Berger in 1999. The collection includes stained
glass, wallpaper, textiles, embroidery, drawings, ceramics, more than
2000 books, original woodblocks, and the complete archives of both
Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. and
Morris & Co. These materials
formed the foundation for the 2002 exhibition William Morris: Creating
the Useful and the Beautiful and 2003 exhibition The Beauty of Life:
In 2013, the Cary Graphic Arts Collection at Rochester Institute of Technology bought William Morris's London-built Hopkinson "> Morris's essay "Printing" as reprinted by the Village Press in Chicago run by Will Ransom and Frederic Goudy , c. 1903
COLLECTED POETRY, FICTION, AND ESSAYS
* The Hollow Land (1856)
* The Defence of Guenevere, and other Poems (1858)
* The Life and Death of
* Grettis Saga: The Story of Grettir the Strong with Eiríkr
* The Saga of Gunnlaug the Worm-tongue and Rafn the Skald with
Eiríkr Magnússon (1869)
* Völsung Saga: The Story of the Volsungs and Niblungs, with
Certain Songs from the Elder Edda with
Eiríkr Magnússon (1870) (from
Volsunga saga )
* Three Northern Love Stories, and Other Tales with Eiríkr
PUBLISHED LECTURES AND PAPERS
* Lectures on Art delivered in support of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (Morris lecture on The Lesser Arts). London, Macmillan, 1882 * Architecture and History & Westminster Abbey". Papers read to SPAB in 1884 and 1893. Printed at The Chiswick Press. London, Longmans, 1900 * Communism: a lecture London, Fabian Society, 1903
All Saints, Middleton Cheney, Northamptonshire *
All Saints, Middleton Cheney - Solomon *
Detail from The Worship of the Shepherds window (1882). *
Burne-Jones-designed and Morris ">
Design for Windrush printed textile, 1881–83 *
The Vision of the
Acanthus embroidered panel, designed Morris, 1890 *
Strawberry Thief , furnishing fabric, designed Morris, 1883 *
Wallpaper - Hyacinth, pattern #480 - 1915-17 *
Wallpaper - Blackberry, pattern #388 - 1915-17 *
Detail of a watercolour design for the Little Flower carpet showing a
portion of the central medallion, by
Panel of ceramic tiles designed by Morris and produced by William De Morgan , 1876 *
Morris Strawberry Thief 1883 detail
* Kelmscott Press
Kelmscott Press typefaces and colophon, 1897 *
William Morris, publisher
* ^ Vallance 1897 , p. 2; Mackail 1901 , pp. 1–2; Thompson 1955 ,
pp. 1–2; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 1–2; Rodgers 1996 , p. 20.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 2–3; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 1–2, 7.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 3; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 1–2, 10.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 4; MacCarthy 1994 , p. 2; Rodgers 1996 , p.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 10; Thompson 1955 , p. 2; MacCarthy 1994 , p.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 5–6.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 5; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 6–7; Rodgers 1996 ,
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 8–9.
* ^ Vallance 1897 , pp. 2–3; Mackail 1901 , p. 11; MacCarthy 1994
, pp. 14–17; Rodgers 1996 , pp. 21–22.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 6–7; MacCarthy 1994 , p. 13; Rodgers 1996
, p. 20.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 10; Thompson 1955 , pp. 4–5; MacCarthy 1994
, pp. 17–18.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , p. 9, 18.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 11; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 20–21.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 11, 14, 18; Thompson 1955 , p. 22; MacCarthy
1994 , pp. 26–27; Rodgers 1996 , p. 22.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 15–16; Thompson 1955 , pp. 3–5;
MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 29–34; Rodgers 1996 , p. 22.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 16; Thompson 1955 , p. 5; MacCarthy 1994 ,
pp. 37–40; Rodgers 1996 , p. 22.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 17; Thompson 1955 , pp. 23–24; MacCarthy
1994 , pp. 43–44.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 48–50; Rodgers 1996 , p. 23.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 25–26; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 52–53.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 53–55.
* ^ Thompson 1955 , p. 6; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 53–55, 60–61.
* ^ Thompson 1955 , pp. 9–10.
* ^ Thompson 1955 , p. 28.
* ^ Thompson 1955 , pp. 29–32; MacCarthy 1994 , p. 71.
* ^ Thompson 1955 , pp. 3, 40; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 64–65.
* ^ Vallance 1897 , pp. 10–11; Mackail 1901 , pp. 34–35;
MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 52, 56–58.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 35–36, 41–42; MacCarthy 1994 , pp.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , p. 65.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 45, 47; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 61–62.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , p. 112.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 38; Thompson 1955 , pp. 32–35; MacCarthy
1994 , pp. 69–71.
* ^ Thompson 1955 , pp. 35–38.
* ^ A B Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911, "William Morris"
* ^ Vallance 1897 , p. 11; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 73–74.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 51–53; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 74–77.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 62–64; Thompson 1955 , pp. 25–26;
MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 65–68.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 48; MacCarthy 1994 , p. 82.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 71–78; Thompson 1955 , pp. 26–27;
MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 82–94.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , p. 95.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 83; MacCarthy 1994 , p. 96.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 81; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 96–97.
* ^ Vallance 1897 , pp. 20–23; Mackail 1901 , pp. 88, 92;
MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 98–102.
* ^ Vallance 1897 , pp. 16–20; Mackail 1901 , pp. 82, 87, 102;
Thompson 1955 , p. 43; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 102–108.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 102; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 108–110.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 111–112.
* ^ Vallance 1897 , pp. 12–15; Mackail 1901 , pp. 100–102, 105;
Thompson 1955 , pp. 42–44; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 113–115.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 106; MacCarthy 1994 , p. 116.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 105, 109; Thompson 1955 , pp. 44–45;
MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 115, 122–123.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 117–126; Thompson 1955 , pp. 46–47;
MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 129–134.
* ^ Vallance 1897 , p. 20; Mackail 1901 , pp. 112–114; Thompson
1955 , p. 45; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 117–122.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 123–125.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 129–135; Thompson 1955 , pp. 76, 85;
MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 142–147.
* ^ Thompson 1955 , pp. 48, 74–76; MacCarthy 1994 , pp.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 138–139; Thompson 1955 , p. 76; MacCarthy
1994 , pp. 151–152.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 129–130, 141; MacCarthy 1994 , pp.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 141–142.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 161–162.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 154–156.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 140–144; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 164–165.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , p. 157.
* ^ A B MacCarthy 1994 , p. 171.
* ^ Thompson 1955 , p. 92.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 159–160; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 157–158.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 158–159; Thompson 1955 , p. 92; MacCarthy
1994 , pp. 158–160.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 162–163.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 186–187.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 144–148; Thompson 1955 , pp. 92–93;
MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 166–169.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , p. 175.
* ^ Thompson 1955 , pp. 99–100.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 151–152; Thompson 1955 , p. 94; MacCarthy
1994 , p. 172.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 176–177.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 154–155; Thompson 1955 , pp. 96–97;
MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 179–181.
* ^ Thompson 1955 , p. 96.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , p. 181.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 156; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 182–183.
* ^ A B MacCarthy 1994 , p. 170.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 160–161; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 185–186.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 161; MacCarthy 1994 , p. 187.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 192–193.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 221–223.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 163; Thompson 1955 , p. 94; MacCarthy 1994 ,
pp. 193–195; Allen 2001 , pp. 22–23.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 162; MacCarthy 1994 , p. 193; Allen 2001 , p.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 164–165; Thompson 1955 , p. 94; MacCarthy
1994 , pp. 196–197.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , p. 198.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 198–199.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 175–176; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 207–210.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , p. 211.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 176–177; Thompson 1955 , p. 96; MacCarthy
1994 , pp. 212–213.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , p. 229–230.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , p. 241.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 224, 253–254.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , p. 259.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 290; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 270–273.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 214–215.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , p. 215.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , p. 216.
* ^ A B MacCarthy 1994 , p. 217.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 401–204; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 231–246.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 183–186; MacCarthy 1994 , p. 204.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 179–183, 192–197, 204–208; Thompson
1955 , pp. 110–150; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 199–203, 259–264.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 269–270.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 213; MacCarthy 1994 , p. 270.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 200–201; Thompson 1955 , pp. 176–179;
MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 290–291, 325.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 276–280; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 264–269.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 280–288; Thompson 1955 , pp. 151–153;
MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 323–324.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 273–275.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 225; Thompson 1955 , pp. 161, 173; MacCarthy
1994 , pp. 275–276.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 225; Thompson 1955 , pp. 174–175; MacCarthy
1994 , pp. 311–314.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 319–321.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , p. 335.
* ^ Thompson 1955 , p. 165; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 325–326.
* ^ Thompson 1955 , p. 165; MacCarthy 1994 , p. 361.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 240–274; Thompson 1955 , pp. 179–182;
MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 279–309.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 293–294; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 307–308.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 294–298; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 330–334.
* ^ Thompson 1955 , p. 184; MacCarthy 1994 , p. 278.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 304; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 336–340.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 304; MacCarthy 1994 , p. 336.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 308; Thompson 1955 , pp. 162–163; MacCarthy
1994 , pp. 335–336.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 305–308; Thompson 1955 , p. 97; MacCarthy
1994 , pp. 341–344.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 324; Thompson 1955 , p. 192; MacCarthy 1994 ,
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 311–317; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 348–350.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 351–352.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 350, 356–357.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 351; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 400–402.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 353; MacCarthy 1994 , p. 409.
* ^ A B MacCarthy 1994 , p. 412.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 411–412.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 320–323; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 361–362.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 310–311, 330–335; MacCarthy 1994 , pp.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 336–337; MacCarthy 1994 , pp.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 328–330; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 368–371.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 359, 366–370; MacCarthy 1994 , pp.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 371–373; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 391–398.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 373; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 403–406.
* ^ Mackail 1899 , pp. 8–16; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 424–428.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 347–351; Thompson 1955 , pp. 192–193,
202–225; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 378–382.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 351; MacCarthy 1994 , p. 384.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 362; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 385–386.
* ^ Mackail 1899 , p. 7; Thompson 1955 , pp. 261–265; MacCarthy
1994 , pp. 421–422.
* ^ Mackail 1899 , pp. 7–8; Thompson 1955 , pp. 264–266;
MacCarthy 1994 , p. 423.
* ^ Mackail 1899 , p. 103; Thompson 1955 , pp. 266–267; MacCarthy
1994 , pp. 422–423.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 340; Thompson 1955 , pp. 226–228; MacCarthy
1994 , pp. 375–377.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , pp. 339–346; Thompson 1955 , p. 228; MacCarthy
1994 , pp. 375–377.
* ^ Thompson 1955 , p. 229; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 377–378.
* ^ Mackail 1899 , pp. 5–6; Thompson 1955 , p. 229; MacCarthy
1994 , pp. 415–416.
* ^ Mackail 1899 , pp. 31–37; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 429–433.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , p. 453.
* ^ Mackail 1899 , p. 61; Thompson 1955 , pp. 319–322; MacCarthy
1994 , pp. 454–458.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , p. 452.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 438–442.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , p. 442.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 447–451.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , p. 423.
* ^ Mackail 1901 , p. 351; MacCarthy 1994 , p. 462.
* ^ Mackail 1899 , pp. 82–84; Thompson 1955 , pp. 269, 292–297;
MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 462–467.
* ^ Mackail 1899 , p. 89; Thompson 1955 , pp. 269, 306; MacCarthy
1994 , pp. 467–471.
* ^ A B MacCarthy 1994 , p. 472.
* ^ Mackail 1899 , p. 123; Thompson 1955 , pp. 308–311; MacCarthy
1994 , pp. 274–275.
* ^ Mackail 1899 , pp. 117–120; Thompson 1955 , pp. 270–271;
MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 477–479.
* ^ Thompson 1955 , p. 314; MacCarthy 1994 , p. 487.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , p. 488.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , p. 484.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , p. 471.
* ^ Mackail 1899 , p. 121; Thompson 1955 , pp. 313; MacCarthy 1994
, pp. 485–497.
* ^ Mackail 1899 , p. 92; MacCarthy 1994 , p. 482.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 481–482.
* ^ Thompson 1955 , p. 274.
* ^ Mackail 1899 , pp. 125–128; Thompson 1955 , pp. 331–357;
MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 493–496.
* ^ Thompson 1955 , pp. 357–365; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 499–503.
* ^ Mackail 1899 , pp. 131–132, 140; Thompson 1955 , p. 366;
MacCarthy 1994 , p. 504.
* ^ Mackail 1899 , p. 140; MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 504–505.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , p. 532.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 506–507, 509.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , p. 541.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , p. 510.
* ^ MacCarthy 1994 , pp. 543–545.
* ^ Kropotkin P. In Memory of
* ^ Adrian Searle (28 May 2013). "
Allen, Rob (2001). "Why
Arscott, Caroline (2008).
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