William Morris

William Morris

Overview
William Morris 24 March 18343 October 1896 was an English textile design
Textile design
Textile design is the process of creating designs and structures for knitted, woven, non-woven or embellishments of fabrics.Textile designing involves producing patterns for cloth used in clothing, household textiles and decorative textiles such as carpets. The field encompasses the actual pattern...

er, artist, writer, and socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a group of English painters, poets, and critics, founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti...

 and the English Arts and Crafts Movement
Arts and Crafts movement
Arts and Crafts was an international design philosophy that originated in England and flourished between 1860 and 1910 , continuing its influence until the 1930s...

. He founded a design firm in partnership with the artist Edward Burne-Jones
Edward Burne-Jones
Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1st Baronet was a British artist and designer closely associated with the later phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, who worked closely with William Morris on a wide range of decorative arts as a founding partner in Morris, Marshall, Faulkner, and Company...

, and the poet and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Dante Gabriel Rossetti was an English poet, illustrator, painter and translator. He founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, and was later to be the main inspiration for a second generation of artists and writers influenced by the movement,...

 which profoundly influenced the decoration of churches and houses into the early 20th century. As an author, illustrator and medievalist, he is considered an important writer of the British Romantic movement, helping to establish the modern fantasy
Fantasy
Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common...

 genre; and a direct influence on postwar
Edwardian period
The Edwardian era or Edwardian period in the United Kingdom is the period covering the reign of King Edward VII, 1901 to 1910.The death of Queen Victoria in January 1901 and the succession of her son Edward marked the end of the Victorian era...

 authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien
J. R. R. Tolkien
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Pembroke College,...

.
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Quotations

If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

"The Beauty of Life," a lecture before the Birmingham Society of Arts and School of Design (1880-02-19), later published in Hopes and Fears for Art: Five Lectures Delivered in Birmingham, London, and Nottingham, 1878 - 1881 (1882)

Beauty, which is what is meant by art, using the word in its widest sense, is, I contend, no mere accident to human life, which people can take or leave as they choose, but a positive necessity of life.

The Beauty of Life (1880)

The greatest foe to art is luxury, art cannot live in its atmosphere.

The Beauty of Life (1880)

So long as the system of competition in the production and exchange of the means of life goes on, the degradation of the arts will go on; and if that system is to last for ever, then art is doomed, and will surely die; that is to say, civilization will die.

"Art Under Plutocracy" (1883)

I love art, and I love history, but it is living art and living history that I love... It is in the interest of living art and living history that I oppose so-called restoration. What history can there be in a building bedaubed with ornament, which cannot at the best be anything but a hopeless and lifeless imitation of the hope and vigour of the earlier world?

"The History of Pattern-Designing" lecture (1882) The Collected Works of William Morris (1910 - 1915) Vol. 22

With the arrogance of youth, I determined to do no less than to transform the world with Beauty. If I have succeeded in some small way, if only in one small corner of the world, amongst the men and women I love, then I shall count myself blessed, and blessed, and blessed, and the work goes on.

As quoted in William Morris & Red House (2005) by Jan Marsh, p. 65

Pray but one prayer for me 'twixt thy closed lips, Think but one thought of me up in the stars.

"Summer Dawn"

Wert thou more fickle than the restless sea,Still should I love thee, knowing thee for such.

Life and Death of Jason, Book ix, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
Encyclopedia
William Morris 24 March 18343 October 1896 was an English textile design
Textile design
Textile design is the process of creating designs and structures for knitted, woven, non-woven or embellishments of fabrics.Textile designing involves producing patterns for cloth used in clothing, household textiles and decorative textiles such as carpets. The field encompasses the actual pattern...

er, artist, writer, and socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a group of English painters, poets, and critics, founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti...

 and the English Arts and Crafts Movement
Arts and Crafts movement
Arts and Crafts was an international design philosophy that originated in England and flourished between 1860 and 1910 , continuing its influence until the 1930s...

. He founded a design firm in partnership with the artist Edward Burne-Jones
Edward Burne-Jones
Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1st Baronet was a British artist and designer closely associated with the later phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, who worked closely with William Morris on a wide range of decorative arts as a founding partner in Morris, Marshall, Faulkner, and Company...

, and the poet and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Dante Gabriel Rossetti was an English poet, illustrator, painter and translator. He founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, and was later to be the main inspiration for a second generation of artists and writers influenced by the movement,...

 which profoundly influenced the decoration of churches and houses into the early 20th century. As an author, illustrator and medievalist, he is considered an important writer of the British Romantic movement, helping to establish the modern fantasy
Fantasy
Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common...

 genre; and a direct influence on postwar
Edwardian period
The Edwardian era or Edwardian period in the United Kingdom is the period covering the reign of King Edward VII, 1901 to 1910.The death of Queen Victoria in January 1901 and the succession of her son Edward marked the end of the Victorian era...

 authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien
J. R. R. Tolkien
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Pembroke College,...

. He was also a major contributor to reviving traditional textile arts
Textile arts
Textile arts are those arts and crafts that use plant, animal, or synthetic fibers to construct practical or decorative objects.Textiles have been a fundamental part of human life since the beginning of civilization, and the methods and materials used to make them have expanded enormously, while...

 and methods of production, and one of the founders of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings
Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings
The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings was founded by William Morris, Philip Webb and J.J.Stevenson, and other notable members of the Pre Raphaelite brotherhood, in 1877, to oppose what they saw as the insensitive renovation of ancient buildings then occurring in Victorian...

, now a statutory element in the preservation of historic buildings in the UK.

Morris wrote and published poetry, fiction, and translations of ancient and medieval texts throughout his life. His best-known works include The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems (1858), The Earthly Paradise (1868–1870), A Dream of John Ball
A Dream of John Ball
A Dream of John Ball is a novel by English author William Morris about the English peasants' revolt of 1381 and the rebel John Ball...

(1888), the utopia
Utopia
Utopia is an ideal community or society possessing a perfect socio-politico-legal system. The word was imported from Greek by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt...

n News from Nowhere
News from Nowhere
News from Nowhere is a classic work combining utopian socialism and soft science fiction written by the artist, designer and socialist pioneer William Morris...

(1890), and the fantasy romance The Well at the World's End
The Well at the World's End
The Well at the World's End is a fantasy novel by the British artist, poet, and author William Morris. It was first published in 1896 and has been reprinted a number of times since, most notably in two parts as the twentieth and twenty-first volumes of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series in August...

(1896). He was an important figure in the emergence of socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 in Britain, founding the Socialist League
Socialist League (UK, 1885)
The Socialist League was an early revolutionary socialist organisation in the United Kingdom. The organisation began as a dissident offshoot of the Social Democratic Federation of Henry Hyndman at the end of 1884. Never an ideologically harmonious group, by the 1890s the group had turned from...

 in 1884, but breaking with that organization over goals and methods by the end of the decade. He devoted much of the rest of his life to the Kelmscott Press, which he founded in 1891. Kelmscott was devoted to the publishing of limited-edition, illuminated-style print books. The 1896 Kelmscott edition of the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer
Geoffrey Chaucer
Geoffrey Chaucer , known as the Father of English literature, is widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages and was the first poet to have been buried in Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey...

is considered a masterpiece of book design.

Early life and education


William Morris was born in Walthamstow
Walthamstow
Walthamstow is a district of northeast London, England, located in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. It is situated north-east of Charing Cross...

 on 24 March 1834, the third child and the eldest son of William Morris, a partner in the firm of Sanderson & Co., bill brokers in the City of London
City of London
The City of London is a small area within Greater London, England. It is the historic core of London around which the modern conurbation grew and has held city status since time immemorial. The City’s boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, and it is now only a tiny part of...

. His mother was Emma Morris née Shelton, daughter of Joseph Shelton, a teacher of music in Worcester
Worcester
The City of Worcester, commonly known as Worcester, , is a city and county town of Worcestershire in the West Midlands of England. Worcester is situated some southwest of Birmingham and north of Gloucester, and has an approximate population of 94,000 people. The River Severn runs through the...

. As a child Morris was delicate but studious. He learned to read early, and by the time he was four years old he was familiar with most of the Waverley novels
Waverley Novels
The Waverley Novels are a long series of books by Sir Walter Scott. For nearly a century they were among the most popular and widely-read novels in all of Europe. Because he did not publicly acknowledge authorship until 1827, they take their name from Waverley , which was the first...

. When he was six the family moved to Woodford Hall, where new opportunities for an out-of-door life brought the boy health and vigour. He rode about Epping Forest
Epping Forest
Epping Forest is an area of ancient woodland in south-east England, straddling the border between north-east Greater London and Essex. It is a former royal forest, and is managed by the City of London Corporation....

, sometimes in a toy suit of armour
Armour
Armour or armor is protective covering used to prevent damage from being inflicted to an object, individual or a vehicle through use of direct contact weapons or projectiles, usually during combat, or from damage caused by a potentially dangerous environment or action...

, where he became a close observer of animal nature and was able to recognize any bird upon the wing.


At the same time he continued to read whatever came in his way and was particularly attracted by the stories in the Arabian Nights and by the designs in Gerard's Herbal. He studied with his sisters' governess until he was nine, when he was sent to a school at Walthamstow
Walthamstow
Walthamstow is a district of northeast London, England, located in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. It is situated north-east of Charing Cross...

. In 1842, his sister Isabella
Isabella Gilmore
Isabella Gilmore was an English churchwoman who oversaw the revival of the Deaconess Order in the Anglican Communion. Isabella served actively in the poorest parishes in South London for almost two decades and she is remembered with a commemoration in the Calendar of saints in some parts of the...

 was born. She grew to be the churchwoman who oversaw the revival of the Deaconess
Deaconess
Deaconess is a non-clerical order in some Christian denominations which sees to the care of women in the community. That word comes from a Greek word diakonos as well as deacon, which means a servant or helper and occurs frequently in the Christian New Testament of the Bible. Deaconesses trace...

 Order in the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

. In his thirteenth year their father died, leaving the family well-to-do. Much of the family's wealth came from a copper and later arsenic mine, Devon Great Consols, of which Morris divested himself in the 1870s. The home at Woodford was broken up, as being unnecessarily large, and in 1848 the family relocated to Water House
William Morris Gallery
The William Morris Gallery, opened by Prime Minister Clement Attlee in 1950, is the only public museum devoted to English Arts and Crafts, designer William Morris...

 and William Morris entered Marlborough College
Marlborough College
Marlborough College is a British co-educational independent school for day and boarding pupils, located in Marlborough, Wiltshire.Founded in 1843 for the education of the sons of Church of England clergy, the school now accepts both boys and girls of all beliefs. Currently there are just over 800...

. Morris was at the school for three years, but gained little from attending it beyond a taste for architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

, fostered by the school library, and an attraction towards the Anglo-Catholic movement. He made but slow progress in school work and at Christmas 1851 was removed and sent to live as a private pupil with the Rev. F. B. Guy, Assistant Master at Forest School
Forest School, Walthamstow
Forest School is an independent school on the edge of Epping Forest, in Walthamstow in North East London, in the UK. The School occupies a large campus based around the original Georgian and Victorian buildings.-History:...

 and later Canon of St. Alban's, for a year to prepare him for University. The Forest School
Forest School, Walthamstow
Forest School is an independent school on the edge of Epping Forest, in Walthamstow in North East London, in the UK. The School occupies a large campus based around the original Georgian and Victorian buildings.-History:...

 archives still contain many items of correspondence from Morris, and the School boasts a Morris stained glass window in the Chapel.

Oxford, apprenticeship, and artistic influences


In June 1852 Morris entered Exeter College, Oxford
Exeter College, Oxford
Exeter College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England and the fourth oldest college of the University. The main entrance is on the east side of Turl Street...

, though since the college was full, he was unable to go into residence until January 1853. At Exeter, Morris met Edward Burne-Jones
Edward Burne-Jones
Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1st Baronet was a British artist and designer closely associated with the later phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, who worked closely with William Morris on a wide range of decorative arts as a founding partner in Morris, Marshall, Faulkner, and Company...

, also a first year undergraduate, who became his life-long friend and collaborator. Morris also joined a Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

 group at Pembroke College
Pembroke College, Oxford
Pembroke College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England, located in Pembroke Square. As of 2009, Pembroke had an estimated financial endowment of £44.9 million.-History:...

, known among themselves as the "Brotherhood" and to historians as the "Pembroke set". Together, they read theology, ecclesiastical history, and medieval poetry; studied art, and during the long vacations visited English churches and the Continental cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

s. They became strongly influenced by the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelites
Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a group of English painters, poets, and critics, founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti...

, John Ruskin's essay "The Nature of Gothic" from the second volume of The Stones of Venice
The Stones of Venice (book)
The Stones of Venice is a three-volume treatise on Venetian art and architecture by English art historian John Ruskin, first published from 1851 to 1853. Intending to prove how the architecture in Venice exemplified the principles he discussed in his earlier work, The Seven Lamps of Architecture,...

, Thomas Malory's Morte d'Arthur and the poetry of Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Morris began to adopt Ruskin's philosophy of rejecting the tawdry industrial manufacture of decorative arts and architecture in favour of a return to hand-craftsmanship, raising artisan
Artisan
An artisan is a skilled manual worker who makes items that may be functional or strictly decorative, including furniture, clothing, jewellery, household items, and tools...

s to the status of artists, creating art that should be affordable and hand-made, with no hierarchy of artistic mediums.

Moreover, Morris began at this time to write poetry and many of his first pieces, afterwards destroyed, were held by sound judges to be equal to anything else he ever worked on. Both Morris and Burne-Jones had come to Oxford with the intention of taking holy orders, but as they felt their way, both decided their energies were best spent on social reform. Morris decided to become an architect and for the better propagation of the views of the new brotherhood a magazine was at the same time projected, which was to make a specialty of social articles, besides poems and short stories. At the beginning of 1856 the two schemes came to a head together. Morris, having passed his finals in the previous term, was entered as a pupil at the office of George Edmund Street, one of the leading English Gothic revival
Gothic Revival architecture
The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

 architects who had his headquarters in Oxford as architect to the diocese; and on New Year's Day the first issue of the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine appeared. The expenses of publishing were borne entirely by Morris, but he resigned the formal editorship after the first issue. Many distinguished compositions appeared in its pages, but it gradually languished and was given up after a year's experiment. The chief immediate result was the friendship between Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Dante Gabriel Rossetti was an English poet, illustrator, painter and translator. He founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, and was later to be the main inspiration for a second generation of artists and writers influenced by the movement,...

, a contributor.

In Street’s office Morris formed an intimate and lifelong friendship with the senior clerk, Philip Webb
Philip Webb
Another Philip Webb — Philip Edward Webb was the architect son of leading architect Sir Aston Webb. Along with his brother, Maurice, he assisted his father towards the end of his career....

, which had an important influence over the development taken by English domestic architecture during the next generation. He worked in Street’s office for nine months, first at Oxford and afterwards in London when Street removed there in the autumn. Morris worked hard both in and out of office hours at architecture and painting, and he studied architectural drawing under Webb. Rossetti persuaded him that he was better suited for a painter, and after a while he devoted himself exclusively to that branch of art. That summer the two friends visited Oxford and finding the new Oxford Union
Oxford Union
The Oxford Union Society, commonly referred to simply as the Oxford Union, is a debating society in the city of Oxford, Britain, whose membership is drawn primarily but not exclusively from the University of Oxford...

 debating-hall under construction, pursued a commission to paint the upper walls with scenes from Le Morte d'Arthur and to decorate the roof between the open timbers. Seven artists were recruited, among them Valentine Prinsep and Arthur Hughes
Arthur Hughes (artist)
Arthur Hughes , was an English painter and illustrator associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. He is the uncle of the English painter Edward Robert Hughes.-Biography:Hughes was born in London...

, and the work was hastily begun. Morris worked with feverish energy and on finishing the portion assigned to him, proceeded to decorate the roof. The fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

es, done too soon and too fast, began to fade at once and now are barely decipherable.

Marriage and family


Rossetti had seen Jane Burden at a theatre performance and recruited her to model as Guinevere for the Oxford Union murals. Morris was smitten with Jane from the start. They became engaged in 1858 and married at St Michael at the Northgate
St Michael at the Northgate
St Michael at the North Gate is a church in Cornmarket Street, at the junction with Ship Street, in central Oxford, England. The church is so-called because this is the location of the original north gate of Oxford when it was surrounded by a city wall....

, Oxford
Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

, on 26 April 1859, settling temporarily at 41 Great Ormond Street, London. Morris's only surviving painting in oils is of Jane Burden as La Belle Iseult. William and Jane had two daughters, Jane Alice (Jenny), born January 1861, who developed epilepsy in her teens, and Mary (May)
May Morris
Mary "May" Morris was an English artisan, embroidery designer, socialist, and editor. She was the younger daughter of the Pre-Raphaelite artist and designer William Morris and his wife and artists' model Jane Morris....

 (March 1862–1938), who became the editor of her father's works, a prominent socialist, and an accomplished designer and craftswoman.

Although of humble origins and unschooled in her youth, Jane Morris underwent a remarkable self-education after her marriage. A striking beauty, she mixed freely with the Pre-Raphaelites and posed many times for Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Dante Gabriel Rossetti was an English poet, illustrator, painter and translator. He founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, and was later to be the main inspiration for a second generation of artists and writers influenced by the movement,...

, with whom Jane sustained a long affair. The Morrises' initial happiness together did not survive the first ten years of their marriage, but divorce was unthinkable, and they remained together until Morris's death.

Red House



For several years after his marriage Morris was absorbed in two connected occupations: the building and decoration of a house for himself and Jane, and the foundation of a firm of decorators who were also artists, with the view of reinstating decoration, down to its smallest details, as one of the fine arts. Meanwhile he was slowly abandoning painting; none of his paintings are dated later than 1862.

Red House
Red House (London)
Red House in Bexleyheath in southeast London, England, is a major building of the history of the Arts and Crafts style and of 19th century British architecture. It was designed during 1859 by its owner, William Morris, and the architect Philip Webb, with wall paintings and stained glass by Edward...

 at Bexleyheath
Bexleyheath
Bexleyheath is a main suburban district of Southeast London, England, in the London Borough of Bexley with a small percentage of the district itself being in the London Borough of Greenwich. Bexleyheath is located on the border of Inner London and Outer London. It is east south-east of Charing Cross...

 in Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

, so named when the use of red brick without stucco was still unusual in domestic architecture,
was built for Morris to designs by Webb; it was Webb's first building as an independent architect Red House featured ceiling paintings by Morris, wall-hangings designed by Morris and worked by himself and Jane; furniture painted by Morris and Rossetti, and wall-paintings and stained- and painted glass designed by Burne-Jones. However it contained no wallpaper, printed or woven fabrics, or carpets by the firm, these being manufactured from 1864, 1868 and 1875 respectively.

Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co.



In 1861, the decorative arts firm of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co.(later described by Nicholas Pevsner as the 'beginning of a new era in Western art ') was founded with Morris, Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Ford Madox Brown
Ford Madox Brown
Ford Madox Brown was an English painter of moral and historical subjects, notable for his distinctively graphic and often Hogarthian version of the Pre-Raphaelite style. Arguably, his most notable painting was Work...

 and Philip Webb as partners, together with Charles Faulkner
Charles Joseph Faulkner
Charles Joseph Faulkner was a mathematician and fellow of University College, Oxford and a founding partner of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Co....

 and Peter Paul Marshall
Peter Paul Marshall
Peter Paul Marshall was a Scottish civil engineer and amateur painter, and a founding partner of the decorative arts firm Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co....

, the former of whom was a member of the Oxford Brotherhood, and the latter a friend of Brown and Rossetti. The prospectus set forth that the firm would undertake carving, stained glass
Stained glass
The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings...

, metal-work, paper-hangings, chintz
Chintz
Chintz is glazed calico cloth printed with flowers and other patterns in different colours. Unglazed calico is called "cretonne". The word Calico is derived from the name of the Indian city Calicut to which it had a manufacturing association.-History:Chintz was originally a woodblock printed,...

es (printed fabrics), and carpet
Carpet
A carpet is a textile floor covering consisting of an upper layer of "pile" attached to a backing. The pile is generally either made from wool or a manmade fibre such as polypropylene,nylon or polyester and usually consists of twisted tufts which are often heat-treated to maintain their...

s. The decoration of churches was from the first an important part of the business. On its non-ecclesiastical side it gradually was extended to include, besides painted windows and mural decoration, furniture, metal and glass wares, cloth and paper wall-hangings, embroideries
Embroidery
Embroidery is the art or handicraft of decorating fabric or other materials with needle and thread or yarn. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as metal strips, pearls, beads, quills, and sequins....

, jewellery
Jewellery
Jewellery or jewelry is a form of personal adornment, such as brooches, rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.With some exceptions, such as medical alert bracelets or military dog tags, jewellery normally differs from other items of personal adornment in that it has no other purpose than to...

, woven and knotted carpets, silk
Silk
Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The best-known type of silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity...

 damask
Damask
Damask is a reversible figured fabric of silk, wool, linen, cotton, or synthetic fibers, with a pattern formed by weaving. Damasks are woven with one warp yarn and one weft yarn, usually with the pattern in warp-faced satin weave and the ground in weft-faced or sateen weave...

s, and tapestries
Tapestry
Tapestry is a form of textile art, traditionally woven on a vertical loom, however it can also be woven on a floor loom as well. It is composed of two sets of interlaced threads, those running parallel to the length and those parallel to the width ; the warp threads are set up under tension on a...

. The first headquarters of the firm were at 8 Red Lion Square
Red Lion Square
Red Lion Square is a small square on the boundary of Bloomsbury and Holborn in London. The square was laid out in 1698 by Nicholas Barbon, taking its name from the Red Lion Inn. According to some sources the bodies of three regicides - Oliver Cromwell, John Bradshaw and Henry Ireton - were placed...

.

The work shown by the firm at the 1862 International Exhibition
1862 International Exhibition
The International of 1862, or Great London Exposition, was a world's fair. It was held from 1 May to 1 November 1862, beside the gardens of the Royal Horticultural Society, South Kensington, London, England, on a site that now houses museums including the Natural History Museum and the Science...

 attracted much notice, and from 1866 began to make a profit. In the autumn of 1864, a severe illness obliged Morris to choose between giving up his home at Red House in Kent and giving up his work in London. With great reluctance he gave up Red House, and in 1865 established himself under the same roof with his workshops, now relocated to Queen Square, Bloomsbury
Bloomsbury
-Places:* Bloomsbury is an area in central London.* Bloomsbury , related local government unit* Bloomsbury, New Jersey, New Jersey, USA* Bloomsbury , listed on the NRHP in Maryland...

.

An important commission of 1867 was the "green dining room" at the South Kensington Museum (now the Morris Room of the Victoria and Albert
Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum , set in the Brompton district of The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, England, is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects...

), featuring stained glass windows and panel figures by Burne-Jones, panels with branches of fruit or flowers by Morris, and olive branches and a frieze by Philip Webb.

Although already the firms paid manager, in 1874 Morris wished to take sole control of the now profitable firm, but, unsurprisingly, had to buy out other shareholders. This venture into capitalism was a severe test of friendship with Rossetti and Ford Maddox Brown. Throughout his life, Morris continued as principal owner and design director, although the company changed names. Its most famous incarnation was as Morris & Co. The firm's designs are still sold today under licenses given to Sanderson and Sons (which markets the "Morris & Co." brand) and Liberty of London
Liberty (department store)
Liberty is a long-established department store in Regent Street in Central London, England, in the West End shopping district.-Early years:...

.

Kelmscott Manor


In 1869, Morris and Rossetti rented a country house, Kelmscott Manor
Kelmscott Manor
Kelmscott Manor is a handsome limestone manor house in the Cotswold village of Kelmscott, Oxfordshire, England. It is situated close to the River Thames, and it is frequently flooded. It dates from around 1570, with a late 17th-century wing...

 at Kelmscott
Kelmscott
Kelmscott is a village and civil parish on the River Thames in West Oxfordshire, about east of Lechlade in neighbouring Gloucestershire.-Parish church:...

, Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire is a county in the South East region of England, bordering on Warwickshire and Northamptonshire , Buckinghamshire , Berkshire , Wiltshire and Gloucestershire ....

, as a summer retreat, but it soon became a retreat for Rossetti and Jane Morris to have a long-lasting and complicated liaison. The two spent summers there, with the Morris children, while Morris himself traveled to Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

 in 1871 and 1873. Kelmscott Manor remained an important retreat and symbol of simple country life for Morris in later years. It was the model for "the old house by the Thames" in Morris's News from Nowhere. The house and gardens are now owned by the Society of Antiquaries
Society of Antiquaries
Society of Antiquaries can refer to:*Society of Antiquaries of London*Society of Antiquaries of Scotland*Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne*Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland...

 of London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, and is open to the public on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the summer. The garden and its flora were a particular inspiration to Morris in his textile designs.

Socialism


In the 1870s, Morris had begun to take an active interest in politics. He became treasurer of the National Liberal League in 1879; but after the Irish coercive measures of 1881, he finally abandoned the Liberal Party
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...

 and advanced into socialist politics.

In January 1883, Morris was enrolled among the members of the Democratic Federation, forerunner of the Social Democratic Federation
Social Democratic Federation
The Social Democratic Federation was established as Britain's first organised socialist political party by H. M. Hyndman, and had its first meeting on June 7, 1881. Those joining the SDF included William Morris, George Lansbury and Eleanor Marx. However, Friedrich Engels, Karl Marx's long-term...

. Over the next two years, Morris and party founder Henry Hyndman worked together as the best-known leaders of the fledgling organisation. For the rest of the decade, his creative efforts sprang from his socialist politics.

In March 1883 he gave an address at Manchester on "Art, Wealth and Riches"; in May he was elected upon the executive of the federation. In September he wrote the first of his "Chants for Socialists." About the same time he shocked the authorities by pleading in University Hall for the wholesale support of socialism among the undergraduates at Oxford. To the surprise of many who saw him as a respectable poet and decorator from that point on he threw himself wholeheartedly into the nascent Socialist movement, becoming co-author of the Social Democratic Federation manifesto.

Disagreements with Hyndman over Irish Home Rule and a generalized mistrust of Hyndman's personal motives led to the foundation of the breakaway Socialist League
Socialist League (UK, 1885)
The Socialist League was an early revolutionary socialist organisation in the United Kingdom. The organisation began as a dissident offshoot of the Social Democratic Federation of Henry Hyndman at the end of 1884. Never an ideologically harmonious group, by the 1890s the group had turned from...

 in December 1884, encouraged by Friedrich Engels
Friedrich Engels
Friedrich Engels was a German industrialist, social scientist, author, political theorist, philosopher, and father of Marxist theory, alongside Karl Marx. In 1845 he published The Condition of the Working Class in England, based on personal observations and research...

 and Eleanor Marx
Eleanor Marx
Jenny Julia Eleanor "Tussy" Marx , also known as Eleanor Marx Aveling, was the English-born youngest daughter of Karl Marx. She was herself a socialist activist, who sometimes worked as a literary translator...

. As the leading figure in the organization Morris embarked on a relentless series of speeches and talks on street corners, in working men's clubs and lecture theatres across England and Scotland. Eventual repression of street corner meetings by the police meant that free speech, rather than economic working-class causes, became the practical focus of the League. Morris also became both editor and principal contributor to the League's monthly - soon to become weekly - newspaper, Commonweal
Commonweal (UK)
Commonweal was a British socialist newspaper founded in 1885 by the newborn Socialist League. Its aims were to spread socialistic views and to win over new recruits....

, which became the first place where his published essays, poems, and other works appeared. His best known prose works, the utopian News from Nowhere
News from Nowhere
News from Nowhere is a classic work combining utopian socialism and soft science fiction written by the artist, designer and socialist pioneer William Morris...

and A Dream of John Ball were first printed here in serialized form.

From 1887, anarchists
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

 began to outnumber socialists in the Socialist League. The 3rd Annual Conference of the League, held in London on 29 May 1887 marked the change, with a majority of the 24 branch delegates voting in favor of an anarchist-sponsored resolution declaring that "This conference endorses the policy of abstention from parliamentary action, hitherto pursued by the League, and sees no sufficient reason for altering it." Morris played peacemaker but sided with the anti-Parliamentarians, who won control of the League, which consequently lost the support of Engels and saw the departure of Eleanor Marx and her partner Edward Aveling
Edward Aveling
Edward Bibbins Aveling was a prominent English biology instructor and popular spokesman for Darwinian evolution and atheism. He later met and moved in with Eleanor Marx, the youngest daughter of Karl Marx and became a socialist activist...

 to form the separate Bloomsbury Socialist Society.

By 1889, the anarchist wing had completely captured the organisation. William Morris was stripped of the editorship of Commonweal in favor of Frank Kitz, an anarchist workman. Morris was left to foot the ongoing operating deficit of the publication, approximately £4 per week — this at a time when £150 per year was the average annual family income in the kingdom. By the autumn of 1890, Morris had had enough and he, too, withdrew from the Socialist League.

The following years have been described as a time of disillusionment for Morris, but he continued to write articles and give public lectures in active support of the Socialist cause. Morris himself was perhaps the greatest British representative of what has come to be called libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production...

. Liberated from internal factional struggles, he retracted his anti-Parliamentary position and worked for Socialist unity, giving his last public lecture in January 1896 on the subject of "One Socialist Party."

Historic preservation


Although Morris never became a practising architect, his interest in architecture continued throughout his life. In 1877 he founded the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings
Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings
The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings was founded by William Morris, Philip Webb and J.J.Stevenson, and other notable members of the Pre Raphaelite brotherhood, in 1877, to oppose what they saw as the insensitive renovation of ancient buildings then occurring in Victorian...

 (sometimes known as "Anti-Scrape"), which sprang into being as a practical protest against a scheme for restoring and reviving Tewkesbury Abbey
Tewkesbury Abbey
The Abbey of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Tewkesbury in the English county of Gloucestershire is the second largest parish church in the country and a former Benedictine monastery.-History:...

. His preservation work resulted indirectly in the founding of the National Trust
National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty
The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, usually known as the National Trust, is a conservation organisation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland...

. Combined with the inspiration of John Ruskin — in particular his essay "The Nature of Gothic" — architecture played an important symbolic part in Morris's approach to socialism.

Another aspect of Morris' preservationism was his desire to protect the natural world from the ravages of pollution
Pollution
Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light...

 and industrialism, causing some historians of the green movement
Green politics
Green politics is a political ideology that aims for the creation of an ecologically sustainable society rooted in environmentalism, social liberalism, and grassroots democracy...

 to regard Morris as an important forerunner of modern environmentalism
Environmentalism
Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements...

.

Later years


In his later years, Morris returned to the paramount interests of his life, art and literature. When his business was enlarged in 1881 by the establishment of a tapestry industry at Merton Abbey Mills
Merton Abbey Mills
Merton Abbey Mills is a former textile factory in the parish of Merton in London, England near the site of the medieval Merton Priory, now the home of a variety of businesses, mostly retailers....

, in South West London, Morris found yet another means for expressing the medievalism
Medievalism
Medievalism is the system of belief and practice characteristic of the Middle Ages, or devotion to elements of that period, which has been expressed in areas such as architecture, literature, music, art, philosophy, scholarship, and various vehicles of popular culture.Since the 18th century, a...

 that inspired all his work, whether on paper or at the loom. He then added another to his many activities; he assumed a direct interest in typography
Typography
Typography is the art and technique of arranging type in order to make language visible. The arrangement of type involves the selection of typefaces, point size, line length, leading , adjusting the spaces between groups of letters and adjusting the space between pairs of letters...

. In the early seventies he had devoted much attention to the arts of manuscript illumination
Illuminated manuscript
An illuminated manuscript is a manuscript in which the text is supplemented by the addition of decoration, such as decorated initials, borders and miniature illustrations...

 and calligraphy
Calligraphy
Calligraphy is a type of visual art. It is often called the art of fancy lettering . A contemporary definition of calligraphic practice is "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner"...

. He himself wrote several manuscripts, with illuminations of his own devising. From this to attempts to beautify the art of modern printing was but a short step. The House of the Wolfings, printed in 1889 at the Chiswick Press, was the first essay in this direction; and in the same year, in The Roots of the Mountains, he carried his theory a step further. Some fifteen months later he added a private printing-press to his multifarious occupations and started upon the first volume issued from the Kelmscott Press. For the last few years of his life this new interest remained the absorbing one.

After his departure from the Socialist League, Morris divided his time between the Firm, then relocated to Merton Abbey, Kelmscott House
Kelmscott House
Kelmscott House is a historic building in Hammersmith, the London home of William Morris from April 1879 to his death in October 1896.Originally called "The Retreat", Morris renamed it after the Oxfordshire village of Kelmscott where he had lived at Kelmscott Manor from June 1871.Kelmscott House is...

 in Hammersmith, the Kelmscott Press, and Kelmscott Manor. At his death at Kelmscott House in 1896 he was interred in the Kelmscott village churchyard.

"A brief sketch of the Morris movement" was a 1911 pamphlet at the 50th anniversary of the Morris & Co.
(http://www.kelmscottbookshop.com/store/21556.htm)

Writings


William Morris was a prolific writer of poetry, fiction, essays, and translations of ancient and medieval texts. His first poems were published when he was 24 years old, and he was polishing his final novel, The Sundering Flood
The Sundering Flood
The Sundering Flood is a fantasy novel by William Morris, perhaps the first modern fantasy writer to unite an imaginary world with the element of the supernatural, and thus the precursor of much of present-day fantasy literature. It was first published posthumously in hardcover by Morris'...

, at the time of his death. His daughter May's edition of Morris's Collected Works (1910–1915) runs to 24 volumes, and two more were published in 1936.

Poetry


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
1858 in literature
The year 1858 in literature involved some significant new books.-Events:*Henrik Ibsen marries and becomes creative director of Oslo's National Theater.*Charles Baudelaire's study on Théophile Gautier is published in Revue contemporaine....

), was the first book of Pre-Raphaelite poetry to be published. The dark poems, set in a sombre world of violence, were coolly received by the critics, and he was discouraged from publishing more for a number of years. "The Haystack in the Floods
The Haystack in the Floods
"The Haystack in the Floods", is a narrative poem of 160 lines by William Morris, first published in The Defence of Guenevere, and Other Poems in 1858. It is probably his best-known poem...

", one of the poems in that collection, is probably now one of his better-known poems. It is a grimly realistic piece set during the Hundred Years War in which the doomed lovers Jehane and Robert have a last parting in a convincingly portrayed rain-swept countryside. One early minor poem was "Masters in this Hall
Masters in This Hall
"Masters in This Hall" , , is a Christmas carol with words written around 1860 by William Morris to an old French dance tune...

" (1860
1860 in literature
The year 1860 in literature involved some significant new books.-Events:*January - First issue of the Cornhill Magazine*June 9 ****- Malaeska: The Indian Wife of the White Hunter becomes the first dime novel to be published....

), a Christmas carol written to an old French tune. Another Christmas-themed poem is "The Snow in the Street", adapted from "The Land East of the Sun and West of the Moon" in The Earthly Paradise.

When he returned to poetry in the late 1860s it was with The Life and Death of Jason, which was published with great success in 1867. Jason was followed by The Earthly Paradise, a huge collection of poems loosely bound together in what he called a leather strapbound book. The theme was of a group of medieval wanderers who set out to search for a land of everlasting life; after much disillusion, they discover a surviving colony of Greeks
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 with whom they exchange stories. The collection brought him almost immediate fame and popularity (all of his books thereafter were published as "by the author of The Earthly Paradise"). The last-written stories in the collection are retellings of Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

ic sagas
Sagàs
Sagàs is a small town and municipality located in Catalonia, in the comarca of Berguedà. It is located in the geographical area of the pre-Pyrenees.-Population:...

. From then until his Socialist period Morris's fascination with the ancient Germanic
Germanic peoples
The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Indo-European Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.Originating about 1800 BCE from the Corded Ware Culture on the North...

 and Norse
Norsemen
Norsemen is used to refer to the group of people as a whole who spoke what is now called the Old Norse language belonging to the North Germanic branch of Indo-European languages, especially Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese, Swedish and Danish in their earlier forms.The meaning of Norseman was "people...

 peoples dominated his writing. Together with his Icelandic friend Eiríkr Magnússon
Eiríkr Magnússon
Eiríkr or Eiríkur Magnússon was an Icelandic scholar who was Librarian at the University of Cambridge, taught Old Norse to William Morris, translated numerous Icelandic sagas into English in collaboration with him, and played an important role in the movement to study the history and literature of...

 he was the first to translate many of the Icelandic sagas into English, and his own epic retelling
The Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs
The Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs is an epic poem by William Morris, telling the tragic story of the Norse hero Sigmund, his son Sigurd and Sigurd's wife Gudrun...

 of the story of Sigurd
Sigurd
Sigurd is a legendary hero of Norse mythology, as well as the central character in the Völsunga saga. The earliest extant representations for his legend come in pictorial form from seven runestones in Sweden and most notably the Ramsund carving Sigurd (Old Norse: Sigurðr) is a legendary hero of...

 the Volsung was his favourite among his poems. Due to his wide poetic acclaim, Morris was quietly approached with an offer of the Poet Laureate
Poet Laureate
A poet laureate is a poet officially appointed by a government and is often expected to compose poems for state occasions and other government events...

ship after the death of Tennyson in 1892, but declined.

Translations


Morris had met Eiríkr Magnússon
Eiríkr Magnússon
Eiríkr or Eiríkur Magnússon was an Icelandic scholar who was Librarian at the University of Cambridge, taught Old Norse to William Morris, translated numerous Icelandic sagas into English in collaboration with him, and played an important role in the movement to study the history and literature of...

1868, and together they began to learn the Icelandic language
Icelandic language
Icelandic is a North Germanic language, the main language of Iceland. Its closest relative is Faroese.Icelandic is an Indo-European language belonging to the North Germanic or Nordic branch of the Germanic languages. Historically, it was the westernmost of the Indo-European languages prior to the...

. Morris published translations of The Saga of Gunnlaug Worm-Tongue
Gunnlaugs saga
Gunnlaugs saga ormstungu or the Saga of Gunnlaugr Serpent-Tongue is one of the Icelanders' sagas. Composed at the end of the 13th century it is preserved complete in a slightly younger manuscript. It contains 25 verses of skaldic poetry attributed to the main characters...

and Grettis Saga
Grettis saga
Grettis saga is one of the Icelanders' sagas. It details the life of Grettir Ásmundarson, a bellicose Icelandic outlaw.- Overview :...

in 1869, and the Story of the Volsungs and Niblungs in 1870. An additional volume was published under the title of Three Northern Love Stories in 1873.

In the mid-1870s, Morris's leisure was mainly occupied by scribe and illuminator; to this period belong, among other works, two manuscripts of Fitzgerald’s Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám is the title that Edward FitzGerald gave to his translation of a selection of poems, originally written in Persian and of which there are about a thousand, attributed to Omar Khayyám , a Persian poet, mathematician and astronomer...

with illustrations by Burne-Jones. He was for some time engaged in the production of a magnificent folio manuscript of Virgil
Virgil
Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English , was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues , the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid...

's Aeneid
Aeneid
The Aeneid is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It is composed of roughly 10,000 lines in dactylic hexameter...

, and in the course of that work had begun to translate the poem into English verse. The manuscript was finally laid aside for the translation, and the Eneids of Virgil was published in November 1875. Morris also translated large numbers of medieval
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 and classical
Classicism
Classicism, in the arts, refers generally to a high regard for classical antiquity, as setting standards for taste which the classicists seek to emulate. The art of classicism typically seeks to be formal and restrained: of the Discobolus Sir Kenneth Clark observed, "if we object to his restraint...

 works, including Homer
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

's Odyssey
Odyssey
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...

in 1887
1887 in literature
The year 1887 in literature involved some significant new books.-Events:*Futabatei Shimei writes The Drifting Cloud, the first modern novel in Japan.-New books:*Mary Elizabeth Braddon - Cut by the County*Hall Caine - The Deemster...

.

Prose romances


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
The Wood Beyond the World
The Wood Beyond the World is a fantasy novel by William Morris, perhaps the first modern fantasy writer to unite an imaginary world with the element of the supernatural, and thus the precursor of much of present-day fantasy literature. It was first published in hardcover by Morris's Kelmscott...

and The Well at the World's End
The Well at the World's End
The Well at the World's End is a fantasy novel by the British artist, poet, and author William Morris. It was first published in 1896 and has been reprinted a number of times since, most notably in two parts as the twentieth and twenty-first volumes of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series in August...

 — have been credited as important milestones in the history of fantasy
Fantasy
Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common...

 fiction, because, while other writers wrote of foreign lands, or of dream worlds, or the future (as Morris did in News from Nowhere
News from Nowhere
News from Nowhere is a classic work combining utopian socialism and soft science fiction written by the artist, designer and socialist pioneer William Morris...

), Morris's works were the first to be set in an entirely invented fantasy world
Fantasy world
A fantasy world is a fictional universe used in fantasy novels and games. Typical worlds involve magic or magical abilities and often, but not always, either a medieval or futuristic theme...

. These were attempts to revive the genre of medieval romance, and written in
imitation of medieval prose. Morris' prose style in these novels has been praised by Edward James
Edward James (historian)
Edward James is Professor of Medieval History at University College, Dublin. He received a BA 1968; DPhil in 1975. He was a Lecturer, then College Lecturer, at the Department of Medieval History, University College Dublin from 1970-1978...

, who described
them as "among the most lyrical and enchanting fantasies in the English language."

On the other hand, L. Sprague de Camp
L. Sprague de Camp
Lyon Sprague de Camp was an American author of science fiction and fantasy books, non-fiction and biography. In a writing career spanning 60 years, he wrote over 100 books, including novels and notable works of non-fiction, including biographies of other important fantasy authors...

 considered Morris' fantasies to be not wholly successful, partly because Morris eschewed many literary techniques from later eras. In particular, De Camp argued the plots of the novels are heavily driven by coincidence; while many things just happened in the romances, the novels are still weakened by the dependence on it. Nevertheless, large subgenres of the field of fantasy have sprung from the romance genre, but indirectly, through their writers' imitation of William Morris.

Early fantasy writers like Lord Dunsany, E. R. Eddison  and James Branch Cabell
James Branch Cabell
James Branch Cabell, ; April 14, 1879 – May 5, 1958) was an American author of fantasy fiction and belles lettres. Cabell was well regarded by his contemporaries, including H. L. Mencken and Sinclair Lewis. His works were considered escapist and fit well in the culture of the 1920s, when his...

  were familiar with Morris' romances. The Wood Beyond the World
The Wood Beyond the World
The Wood Beyond the World is a fantasy novel by William Morris, perhaps the first modern fantasy writer to unite an imaginary world with the element of the supernatural, and thus the precursor of much of present-day fantasy literature. It was first published in hardcover by Morris's Kelmscott...

is considered to have heavily influenced C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis
Clive Staples Lewis , commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as "Jack", was a novelist, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian and Christian apologist from Belfast, Ireland...

' Narnia series, while
J. R. R. Tolkien
J. R. R. Tolkien
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Pembroke College,...

 was inspired by Morris's reconstructions of early Germanic life in The House of the Wolfings and The Roots of the Mountains. The young Tolkien attempted a retelling of the story of Kullervo from the Kalevala
Kalevala
The Kalevala is a 19th century work of epic poetry compiled by Elias Lönnrot from Finnish and Karelian oral folklore and mythology.It is regarded as the national epic of Finland and is one of the most significant works of Finnish literature...

in the style of The House of the Wolfings; Tolkien considered much of his literary work to have been inspired by an early reading of Morris, even suggesting that he was unable to better Morris's work; the names of characters such as "Gandolf
Gandalf
Gandalf is a character in J. R. R. Tolkien's novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. In these stories, Gandalf appears as a wizard, member and later the head of the order known as the Istari, as well as leader of the Fellowship of the Ring and the army of the West...

" and the horse Silverfax appear in The Well at the World's End
The Well at the World's End
The Well at the World's End is a fantasy novel by the British artist, poet, and author William Morris. It was first published in 1896 and has been reprinted a number of times since, most notably in two parts as the twentieth and twenty-first volumes of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series in August...

.

Sir Henry Newbolt's
Henry Newbolt
Sir Henry John Newbolt, CH was an English poet. He is best remembered for Vitaï Lampada, a lyrical piece used for propaganda purposes during the First World War.-Background:...

 medieval allegorical novel, Aladore, was influenced by Morris' fantasies.
James Joyce
James Joyce
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century...

 also drew inspiration from his work.

Textiles



Furnishing textiles were an important offering of the firm in all its incarnations. By 1883, Morris wrote "Almost all the designs we use for surface decoration, wallpapers, textiles, and the like, I design myself. I have had to learn the theory and to some extent the practice of weaving
Weaving
Weaving is a method of fabric production in which two distinct sets of yarns or threads are interlaced at right angles to form a fabric or cloth. The other methods are knitting, lace making and felting. The longitudinal threads are called the warp and the lateral threads are the weft or filling...

, dyeing
Dyeing
Dyeing is the process of adding color to textile products like fibers, yarns, and fabrics. Dyeing is normally done in a special solution containing dyes and particular chemical material. After dyeing, dye molecules have uncut Chemical bond with fiber molecules. The temperature and time controlling...

 and textile printing
Textile printing
Textile printing is the process of applying colour to fabric in definite patterns or designs. In properly printed fabrics the colour is bonded with the fiber, so as to resist washing and friction...

: all of which I must admit has given me and still gives me a great deal of enjoyment."

Morris's preference for flat use of line and colour and abhorrence of "realistic" three-dimensional shading was marked; in this he followed the propositions of Owen Jones as set out in his 'The Grammar of Ornament' of 1856, a copy of which Morris owned. Writing on tapestry weaving, Morris said:

As in all wall-decoration, the first thing to be considered in the designing of Tapestry is the force, purity, and elegance of the silhouette of the objects represented, and nothing vague or indeterminate is admissible. But special excellences can be expected from it. Depth of tone, richness of colour, and exquisite gradation of tints are easily to be obtained in Tapestry; and it also demands that crispness and abundance of beautiful detail which was the especial characteristic of fully developed Mediæval Art. - Of the Revival of Design and Handicraft


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 Embroidery in 1848, and was a staunch advocate of abandoning faddish woolen work on canvas
Berlin wool work
Berlin wool work is a style of needlepoint. Typically it is executed with wool yarn on canvas. It is usually worked in a single stitch, such as cross stitch or tent stitch although Beeton's book of Needlework describes 15 different stitches for use in Berlin work...

 in favour of more expressive embroidery techniques based on Opus Anglicanum
Opus Anglicanum
Opus Anglicanum or English work is a contemporary term for fine needlework of Medieval England done for ecclesiastical or secular use on clothing, hangings or other textiles, often using gold and silver threads on rich velvet or linen grounds...

, a surface embroidery
Surface embroidery
Surface embroidery is any form of embroidery in which the pattern is worked using decorative stitches and laid threads on top of the foundation fabric or canvas rather than through the fabric; it is contrasted with canvas work....

 technique popular in medieval England.

He was also very fond of hand knotted Persian carpets and advised the South Kensington Museum
Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum , set in the Brompton district of The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, England, is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects...

 in the acquisition of fine Kerman carpets.

Embroidery



Morris taught himself embroidery, working with wool on a frame
Embroidery hoop
Embroidery hoops and frames are tools used to keep fabric taut while working embroidery or other forms of needlework.-Hoops:An embroidery hoop or tambour frame consists of a pair of concentric circular or elliptical rings. The larger ring has a tightening device, usually in the form of a metal...

 custom-built from an old example, and once he had mastered the technique he trained his wife Jane and her sister Bessie Burden and others to execute designs to his specifications. "Embroideries of all kinds" were offered through Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. catalogues, and church embroidery became and remained an important line of business for its successor companies into the twentieth century. By the 1870s, the firm was offering both designs for embroideries and finished works. Following in Street's footsteps, Morris became active in the growing movement to return originality and mastery of technique to embroidery, and was one of the first designers associated with the Royal School of Art Needlework
Royal School of Needlework
The Royal School of Needlework is a hand embroidery school in the United Kingdom, founded in 1872.It has an archive of over 30,000 images covering every period of British history...

 with its aim to "restore Ornamental Needlework for secular purposes to the high place it once held among decorative arts."

Printed and woven textiles



Morris's first repeating pattern for wallpaper is dated 1862, but was not manufactured until 1864. All his wallpaper designs were manufactured for him by Jeffrey & Co, a commercial wallpaper maker. In 1868 he designed his first pattern specifically for fabric printing. As in so many other areas that interested him, Morris chose to work with the ancient technique of hand woodblock printing
Woodblock printing on textiles
Woodblock printing on textiles is the process of printing patterns on textiles, usually of linen, cotton or silk, by means of incised wooden blocks. It is the earliest, simplest and slowest of all methods of textile printing. Block printing by hand is a slow process...

 in preference to the roller printing
Roller printing on textiles
Roller printing, also called cylinder printing or machine printing, on fabrics is a textile printing process patented by Thomas Bell of Scotland in 1783 in an attempt to reduce the cost of the earlier copperplate printing...

 which had almost completely replaced it for commercial uses.

Morris took up the practical art of dyeing as a necessary adjunct of his manufacturing business. He spent much of his time at Staffordshire
Staffordshire
Staffordshire is a landlocked county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes, the county is a NUTS 3 region and is one of four counties or unitary districts that comprise the "Shropshire and Staffordshire" NUTS 2 region. Part of the National Forest lies within its borders...

 dye works mastering the processes of that art and making experiments in the revival of old or discovery of new methods. One result of these experiments was to reinstate indigo dye
Indigo dye
Indigo dye is an organic compound with a distinctive blue color . Historically, indigo was a natural dye extracted from plants, and this process was important economically because blue dyes were once rare. Nearly all indigo dye produced today — several thousand tons each year — is synthetic...

ing as a practical industry and generally to renew the use of those vegetable dyes, like madder
Madder
Rubia is a genus of the madder family Rubiaceae, which contains about 60 species of perennial scrambling or climbing herbs and sub-shrubs native to the Old World, Africa, temperate Asia and America...

, which had been driven almost out of use by the anilines. Dyeing of wools, silks, and cottons was the necessary preliminary to what he had much at heart, the production of woven and printed fabrics of the highest excellence; 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. However, his first carpet designs of 1875, were made for him industrially by commercial firms using machinery.

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
Warp (weaving)
In weaving cloth, the warp is the set of lengthwise yarns that are held in tension on a frame or loom. The yarn that is inserted over-and-under the warp threads is called the weft, woof, or filler. Each individual warp thread in a fabric is called a warp end or end. Warp means "that which is thrown...

 and weft
Weft
In weaving, weft or woof is the yarn which is drawn through the warp yarns to create cloth. In North America, it is sometimes referred to as the "fill" or the "filling yarn"....

s are interlinked to create complex gradations of colour and texture. His textile designs are still popular today, sometimes recoloured for modern sensibilities, but also in the original colourways.

Tapestry


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". Shortly thereafter Morris trained his employee John Henry Dearle
John Henry Dearle
John Henry Dearle or J. H. Dearle was a British textile and stained glass designer trained by Pre-Raphaelite artist and craftsman William Morris. Dearle designed many of the later wallpapers and textiles released by Morris & Co., and contributed background and foliage patterns to tapestry designs...

 in the technique, setting up a tapestry loom at Queen Square and later a large tapestry works at Merton Abbey.

The Kelmscott Press


In January 1891, Morris founded the Kelmscott Press at Hammersmith, London, in order to produce books by traditional methods, using, as far as possible, the printing
Printing
Printing is a process for reproducing text and image, typically with ink on paper using a printing press. It is often carried out as a large-scale industrial process, and is an essential part of publishing and transaction printing....

 technology and typographical style of the fifteenth century. In this he was reflecting the tenets of the Arts and Crafts movement, and responding to the mechanisation and mass-production of contemporary book-production methods and to the rise of lithography
Lithography
Lithography is a method for printing using a stone or a metal plate with a completely smooth surface...

, particularly those lithographic prints designed to look like woodcuts.

He designed two typeface
Typeface
In typography, a typeface is the artistic representation or interpretation of characters; it is the way the type looks. Each type is designed and there are thousands of different typefaces in existence, with new ones being developed constantly....

s based on fifteenth-century models, the Roman "Golden" type (inspired by the type of the early Venetian
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 printer Nicolaus Jenson) and the black letter "Troy" type; a third type, the "Chaucer" was a smaller version of the Troy type. He also designed floriated borders and initials for the books, drawing inspiration from incunabula and their woodcut
Woodcut
Woodcut—occasionally known as xylography—is a relief printing artistic technique in printmaking in which an image is carved into the surface of a block of wood, with the printing parts remaining level with the surface while the non-printing parts are removed, typically with gouges...

 illustrations. Selection of paper
Paper
Paper is a thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets....

 and ink
Ink
Ink is a liquid or paste that contains pigments and/or dyes and is used to color a surface to produce an image, text, or design. Ink is used for drawing and/or writing with a pen, brush, or quill...

, and concerns for the overall integration of type and decorations on the page, made the Kelmscott Press the most famous of the private press
Private press
Private press is a term used in the field of book collecting to describe a printing press operated as an artistic or craft-based endeavor, rather than as a purely commercial venture...

es of the Arts and Crafts movement, and the main inspiration for what became known as the "Private Press Movement". It operated until 1898, producing more than 18,000 copies of 53 different works, comprising 69 volumes, and inspired numerous other private presses, notably the Vale Press, Caradoc Press, Ashendene Press
Ashendene Press
The Ashendene Press was a small private press founded by Charles Henry St John Hornby . It operated from 1895 to 1915 in Chelsea, England, and was revived after the war in 1920...

 and Doves Press
Doves Press
Doves Press was a private press based in Hammersmith, London. It was founded by T. J. Cobden Sanderson before 1900 when he asked Sir Emery Walker to join him . Cobden Sanderson commissioned the press's type, which was drawn under Walker's supervision, and set up the Doves Bindery to bind the books...

.

Publications



Among the works issued by the Kelmscott Press were:
  • William Morris, The Story of the Glittering Plain (1891)
  • William Morris, The Defence of Guenevere and other Poems (1892)
  • William Morris, A Dream of John Ball and A King's Lesson (1892)
  • Raoul Lafevre, The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye (1892)
  • William Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

    , The Poems (1893)
  • William Morris, News from Nowhere (1893)
  • William Caxton (trans.), The History of Reynard the Foxe (1893)
  • William Caxton
    William Caxton
    William Caxton was an English merchant, diplomat, writer and printer. As far as is known, he was the first English person to work as a printer and the first to introduce a printing press into England...

     (trans.), The Order of Chivalry (1893)
  • Guilelmus, Archbishop of Tyrel, The History of Geoffrey of Boloyne (1893)
  • Sir Thomas More
    Thomas More
    Sir Thomas More , also known by Catholics as Saint Thomas More, was an English lawyer, social philosopher, author, statesman and noted Renaissance humanist. He was an important councillor to Henry VIII of England and, for three years toward the end of his life, Lord Chancellor...

    , Utopia
    Utopia
    Utopia is an ideal community or society possessing a perfect socio-politico-legal system. The word was imported from Greek by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt...

    (1893)
  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti
    Dante Gabriel Rossetti
    Dante Gabriel Rossetti was an English poet, illustrator, painter and translator. He founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, and was later to be the main inspiration for a second generation of artists and writers influenced by the movement,...

    , Sonnets and Lyrical Poems (1893)
  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Ballads and Narrative Poems (1893)
  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Hand and Soul (1894)
  • Wilhelm Meinhold, Sidonia the Sorceress (1894)
  • William Morris, The Story of the Glittering Plain (1894)
  • Algernon Charles Swinburne
    Algernon Charles Swinburne
    Algernon Charles Swinburne was an English poet, playwright, novelist, and critic. He invented the roundel form, wrote several novels, and contributed to the famous Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica...

    , Atalanta in Calydon (1894)
  • An American Memorial to Keats (1895)
  • Sir Percyvelle of Gales (1895)
  • William Morris, The Life and Death of Jason (1895)
  • Geoffrey Chaucer, The Works (called the Kelmscott Chaucer) (1896)
  • William Morris, The Earthly Paradise (1896)
  • Sir Ysumbrace (1897)
  • William Morris, The Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs
    The Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs
    The Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs is an epic poem by William Morris, telling the tragic story of the Norse hero Sigmund, his son Sigurd and Sigurd's wife Gudrun...

    (1898)


The Kelmscott Press edition of The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, with decorations by Morris and illustrations by Burne-Jones, is sometimes counted among the most beautiful books ever produced. Full-scale facsimiles of the Kelmscott Chaucer were published by the Basilisk Press in 1974 and by the Folio Society
Folio Society
The Folio Society is a book club based in London that produces new editions of classic books. Their books are notable for their high quality bindings and original illustrations...

 in 2002. More modest facsimiles were published by World Publishing in 1964 and Omega Books in 1985.

Legacy



Assessment


Three years after his death, Morris's biographer John William Mackail
John William Mackail
John William Mackail O.M. was a Scottish man of letters and socialist, now best remembered as a Virgil scholar. He was also a poet, literary historian and biographer....

 (the husband of Burne-Jones's daughter Margaret and so a member of his immediate circle) summed up his career for the Dictionary of National Biography
Dictionary of National Biography
The Dictionary of National Biography is a standard work of reference on notable figures from British history, published from 1885...

in a quote that is markedly prescient in its assessment:


The fame of Morris during his life was probably somewhat obscured by the variety of his accomplishments. In all his work after he reached mature life there is a marked absence of extravagance, of display, of superficial cleverness or effectiveness, and an equally marked sense of composition and subordination. Thus his poetry is singularly devoid of striking lines or phrases, and his wall-papers and chintzes only reveal their full excellence by the lastingness of the satisfaction they give. His genius as a pattern-designer is allowed by all qualified judges to have been unequalled. This, if anything, he himself regarded as his specific profession; it was under the designation of "designer" that he enrolled himself in the socialist ranks and claimed a position as one of the working class. And it is the quality of design which, together with a certain fluent ease, distinguishes his work in literature as well as in industrial art. It is yet too early to forecast what permanent place he may hold among English poets. "The Defence of Guenevere" had a deep influence on a limited audience. With "Jason" and the "Earthly Paradise" he attained a wide popularity: and these poems, appearing as they did at a time when the poetic art in England seemed narrowing into mere labour on a thrice-ploughed field, not only gave a new scope, range, and flexibility to English rhymed verse, but recovered for narrative poetry a place among the foremost kinds of the art. A certain diffuseness of style may seem to be against their permanent life, so far as it is not compensated by a uniform wholesomeness and sweetness which indeed marks all Morris’s work. In "Sigurd the Volsung
The Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs
The Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs is an epic poem by William Morris, telling the tragic story of the Norse hero Sigmund, his son Sigurd and Sigurd's wife Gudrun...

" Morris appears to have aimed higher than in his other poems, but not to have reached his aim with the same certainty; and his own return afterwards from epic to romance may indicate that the latter was the ground on which he was most at home. The prose romances of his later years have so far proved less popular in themselves than in the dilutions they have suggested to other writers. Here as elsewhere Morris’s great effect was to stimulate the artistic sense and initiate movements. So likewise it was with his political and social work. Much of it was not practical in the ordinary sense; but it was based on principles and directed towards ideals which have had a wide and profound influence over thought and practice.


From a later perspective, Stansky concludes that:

Morris's views on the environment, on preserving what is of value in both the natural and "built" worlds, on decentralising bloated government, are as significant now as they were in Morris's own time, or even more so. Earlier in the twentieth century, much of his thinking, particularly its political side, was dismissed as sheer romanticism. After the Second World War, it appeared that modernisation, centralisation, industrialism, rationalism – all the faceless movements of the time – were in control and would take care of the world. Today, when we have a keen sense of the shambles of their efforts, the suggestions which Morris made in his designs, his writings, his actions and his politics have new power and relevance.


Today, Morris's poetry is little-read. His fantasy romances languished out of print for decades until their rediscovery amid the great fantasy revival of the late 1960s following the phenomenal success of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings is a high fantasy epic written by English philologist and University of Oxford professor J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's earlier, less complex children's fantasy novel The Hobbit , but eventually developed into a much larger work. It was written in...

. But his textile and wallpaper designs remain a staple of the Arts and Crafts Revival of the turn of the 21st century, and the reproduction of Morris designs as fabric, wrapping paper, and craft kits of all sorts is testament to the enduring appeal of his work. The William Morris Societies in Britain, the US, and Canada are active in preserving Morris's work and ideas.

Notable collections and house museums


A number of galleries and museums house important collections of Morris's work and decorative items commissioned from Morris & Co. The William Morris Gallery
William Morris Gallery
The William Morris Gallery, opened by Prime Minister Clement Attlee in 1950, is the only public museum devoted to English Arts and Crafts, designer William Morris...

 in Walthamstow
Walthamstow
Walthamstow is a district of northeast London, England, located in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. It is situated north-east of Charing Cross...

, England, is a public museum devoted to Morris' life, work and influence. The collection, which is of international significance, includes printed, woven and embroidered fabrics, rugs, carpets, wallpapers, furniture, stained glass and painted tiles by Morris and his associates. In April 2007, The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

newspaper reported that funding for the Gallery was threatened by cost cutting by the London borough of Waltham Forest. A campaign to avoid the reduction in opening times and dismissal of key staff was launched. Since then, the Gallery has secured £1.523 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, matched by £1.5 million from the London Borough of Waltham Forest, to renovate and extend the Gallery. Further funding has been secured from charitable trusts and foundations and through an ongoing public fundraising campaign. When the Gallery reopens in July 2012, more of the collection will be on display. The William Morris Gallery Development Project will also deliver a dedicated learning and research space, a new temporary exhibition gallery, a new shop and tea room and a varied activities and events programme.

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.

Wightwick Manor
Wightwick Manor
Wightwick Manor is a Victorian manor house located on Wightwick Bank, Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England, and one of only a few surviving examples of a house built and furnished under the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement...

 in the West Midlands
West Midlands (county)
The West Midlands is a metropolitan county in western central England with a 2009 estimated population of 2,638,700. It came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972, formed from parts of Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. The...

, England, is a notable example of the Morris & Co. style, with original Morris wallpapers and fabrics, De Morgan tiles, and Pre-Raphaelite works of art, managed by the National Trust
National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty
The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, usually known as the National Trust, is a conservation organisation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland...

. Standen
Standen
Standen is an Arts and Crafts house located near East Grinstead, West Sussex, England. The house and its surrounding gardens belong to the National Trust and are open to the public.-The house:...

 in West Sussex
West Sussex
West Sussex is a county in the south of England, bordering onto East Sussex , Hampshire and Surrey. The county of Sussex has been divided into East and West since the 12th century, and obtained separate county councils in 1888, but it remained a single ceremonial county until 1974 and the coming...

, England, was designed by Webb between 1892 and 1894 and decorated with Morris carpets, fabrics and wallpapers. Morris's homes Red House and Kelmscott Manor have been preserved. Red House was acquired by the National Trust in 2003 and is open to the public by advanced reservation. Kelmscott Manor is owned by the Society of Antiquaries of London
Society of Antiquaries of London
The Society of Antiquaries of London is a learned society "charged by its Royal Charter of 1751 with 'the encouragement, advancement and furtherance of the study and knowledge of the antiquities and history of this and other countries'." It is based at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London , and is...

 and is open to the public.

The Art Gallery of South Australia
Art Gallery of South Australia
The Art Gallery of South Australia , located on the cultural boulevard of North Terrace in Adelaide, is the premier visual arts museum in the Australian state of South Australia. It has a collection of over 35,000 works of art, making it, after the National Gallery of Victoria, the largest state...

 is "fortunate in holding the most comprehensive collection of Morris & Co. furnishings outside Britain". The collection includes books, embroideries, tapestries, fabrics, wallpapers, drawings & sketches, furniture and stained glass, and forms the focus of two published works (produced to accompany special exhibitions).

The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens
The Huntington Library
The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens is an educational and research institution established by Henry E. Huntington in San Marino, in the San Rafael Hills near Pasadena, California in the United States...

 in San Marino, California
San Marino, California
San Marino is a small, affluent city in Los Angeles County, California. Incorporated in 1913, the City founders designed the community to be uniquely residential, with expansive properties surrounded by beautiful gardens, wide streets, and well maintained parkways...

 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: William Morris and the Art of Design and accompanying publication.

Monuments


A fountain located in Bexleyheath
Bexleyheath
Bexleyheath is a main suburban district of Southeast London, England, in the London Borough of Bexley with a small percentage of the district itself being in the London Borough of Greenwich. Bexleyheath is located on the border of Inner London and Outer London. It is east south-east of Charing Cross...

 town centre, named the Morris Fountain, was created in his honour and unveiled on the anniversary of his birth. Also in Bexleyheath, Morris' home Red House
Red House (London)
Red House in Bexleyheath in southeast London, England, is a major building of the history of the Arts and Crafts style and of 19th century British architecture. It was designed during 1859 by its owner, William Morris, and the architect Philip Webb, with wall paintings and stained glass by Edward...

 was opened up to the public by the National Trust
National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty
The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, usually known as the National Trust, is a conservation organisation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland...

 in 2004. Also, Walthamstow Central tube station
Walthamstow Central station
Walthamstow Central is a London Underground and commuter rail station. It is the terminus of the Victoria line, and is on the branch of the London commuter rail network operated by National Express East Anglia...

 has William Morris inspired motifs (by Julia Black) in regularly spaced alcoves along the platform walls.

Literary works



Collected poetry, fiction, and essays

  • The Hollow Land (1856)
  • The Defence of Guenevere, and other Poems (1858)
  • The Life and Death of Jason (1867)
  • The Earthly Paradise (1868–1870)
  • Love is Enough, or The Freeing of Pharamond: A Morality (1872)
  • The Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs
    The Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs
    The Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs is an epic poem by William Morris, telling the tragic story of the Norse hero Sigmund, his son Sigurd and Sigurd's wife Gudrun...

    (1877)
  • Hopes and Fears For Art (1882)
  • The Pilgrims of Hope (1885)
  • A Dream of John Ball
    A Dream of John Ball
    A Dream of John Ball is a novel by English author William Morris about the English peasants' revolt of 1381 and the rebel John Ball...

    (1888)
  • A Tale of the House of the Wolfings, and All the Kindreds of the Mark Written in Prose and in Verse (1889)
  • The Roots of the Mountains (1890)
  • Poems By the Way (1891)
  • News from Nowhere (or, An Epoch of Rest)
    News from Nowhere
    News from Nowhere is a classic work combining utopian socialism and soft science fiction written by the artist, designer and socialist pioneer William Morris...

    (1890)
  • The Story of the Glittering Plain
    The Story of the Glittering Plain
    The Story of the Glittering Plain is an 1891 fantasy novel by William Morris, perhaps the first modern fantasy writer to unite an imaginary world with the element of the supernatural, and thus the precursor of much of present-day fantasy literature. His earlier fantasies The House of the Wolfings...

    (1891)
  • The Wood Beyond the World
    The Wood Beyond the World
    The Wood Beyond the World is a fantasy novel by William Morris, perhaps the first modern fantasy writer to unite an imaginary world with the element of the supernatural, and thus the precursor of much of present-day fantasy literature. It was first published in hardcover by Morris's Kelmscott...

    (1894)
  • Child Christopher and Goldilind the Fair (1895)
  • The Well at the World's End
    The Well at the World's End
    The Well at the World's End is a fantasy novel by the British artist, poet, and author William Morris. It was first published in 1896 and has been reprinted a number of times since, most notably in two parts as the twentieth and twenty-first volumes of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series in August...

    (1896)
  • The Water of the Wondrous Isles
    The Water of the Wondrous Isles
    The Water of the Wondrous Isles is a fantasy novel by William Morris, perhaps the first modern fantasy writer to unite an imaginary world with the element of the supernatural, and thus the precursor of much of present-day fantasy literature. It was first published in hardcover by Morris' Kelmscott...

    (1897)
  • The Sundering Flood
    The Sundering Flood
    The Sundering Flood is a fantasy novel by William Morris, perhaps the first modern fantasy writer to unite an imaginary world with the element of the supernatural, and thus the precursor of much of present-day fantasy literature. It was first published posthumously in hardcover by Morris'...

    (1897) (published posthumously)
  • Golden Wings and Other Stories
    Golden Wings and Other Stories
    Golden Wings and Other Stories is a collection of fantasy short stories by William Morris, first published in trade paperback by the Newcastle Publishing Company in March 1976 as the eighth volume of the celebrated Newcastle Forgotten Fantasy Library. The first hardcover edition was published by...

    (1976)

Translations

  • Grettis Saga: The Story of Grettir the Strong with Eiríkr Magnússon (1869)
  • 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 the Volsunga saga
    Volsunga saga
    The Völsungasaga is a legendary saga, a late 13th century Icelandic prose rendition of the origin and decline of the Völsung clan . It is largely based on epic poetry...

    )
  • Three Northern Love Stories, and Other Tales with Eiríkr Magnússon (1875)
  • The Odyssey of Homer Done into English Verse (1887)
  • The Aeneids of Virgil Done into English (1876)
  • Of King Florus and the Fair Jehane (1893)
  • The Tale of Beowulf Done out of the Old English Tongue (1895)
  • Old French Romances Done into English (1896)

See also


  • Arts and Crafts movement
    Arts and Crafts movement
    Arts and Crafts was an international design philosophy that originated in England and flourished between 1860 and 1910 , continuing its influence until the 1930s...

  • Eco-socialism
    Eco-socialism
    Eco-socialism, green socialism or socialist ecology is an ideology merging aspects of Marxism, socialism, green politics, ecology and alter-globalization...

  • Merry England
    Merry England
    "Merry England", or in more jocular, archaic spelling "Merrie England", refers to an English autostereotype, a utopian conception of English society and culture based on an idyllic pastoral way of life that was allegedly prevalent at some time between the Middle Ages and the onset of the Industrial...

  • Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
    Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
    The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a group of English painters, poets, and critics, founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti...

  • Social Democratic Federation
    Social Democratic Federation
    The Social Democratic Federation was established as Britain's first organised socialist political party by H. M. Hyndman, and had its first meeting on June 7, 1881. Those joining the SDF included William Morris, George Lansbury and Eleanor Marx. However, Friedrich Engels, Karl Marx's long-term...

  • Socialism
    Socialism
    Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

  • Socialist League
    Socialist League (UK, 1885)
    The Socialist League was an early revolutionary socialist organisation in the United Kingdom. The organisation began as a dissident offshoot of the Social Democratic Federation of Henry Hyndman at the end of 1884. Never an ideologically harmonious group, by the 1890s the group had turned from...

  • Sydney Cockerell
    Sydney Cockerell
    Sir Sydney Carlyle Cockerell was an English museum curator and collector.-Life:Sydney Cockerell made his way initially as clerk in the family coal business, George J. Cockerell & Co, until he met John Ruskin. According to John Ruskin by Tim Hilton , around 1887 Cockerell sent Ruskin some sea...

  • Robert Steele (medievalist)
    Robert Steele (medievalist)
    Robert Steele was a British scholar, best known for editing between c. 1905 and 1941 the 16-volume Opera hactenus inedita Rogeri Bacon....

  • Victorian decorative arts
    Victorian decorative arts
    Victorian decorative arts refers to the style of decorative arts during the Victorian era. The Victorian era is known for its eclectic revival and interpretation of historic styles and the introduction of cross-cultural influences from the middle east and Asia in furniture, fittings, and Interior...

  • William Morris Society
    William Morris Society
    The William Morris Society was founded in 1955 in London, England.The Society aims to make more well-known the life and work of the Victorian designer, artist, writer, and socialist, William Morris and his associates. The Society's programmes involve branches in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the...


Further reading

  • Arscott, Caroline. William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones: Interlacings, (New Haven and London: Yale University Press (Published for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art), 2008). ISBN 978-0-300-14093-4
  • Freudenheim, Leslie. Building with Nature: Inspiration for the Arts & Crafts Home (Gibbs Smith 2005 ) ISBN 978-1-58685-463-8.
  • Goodway, David. Anarchist Seeds beneath the Snow: Left Libertarian Thought and English Writers From William Morris to Colin Ward
  • Pinkney, Tony
    Tony Pinkney
    Tony Pinkney is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English, Lancaster University, England. He played an active role in Oxford English Limited , a leftwing group pressing for progressive reforms in the Oxford University English Faculty between 1982 and 1992, and edited its journal, News from...

    . William Morris in Oxford: The Campaigning Years, 1879–1895 (2007).

External links


Sources

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