Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Sunday, 20 November 2016

William Morris. Arts And Crafts.

A William Morris Wallpaper.
'Compton' was designed by John Henry Dearle in 1895, specially for Compton Hall in Wolverhampton, England, the home of Laurence Hodson. The original design required two sets of wood blocks to print all twenty-eight colours, owing to the large vertical repeating pattern, but has since been scaled down and adapted for a wider audience. Compton" is still a popular wallpaper and is also available in a printed cotton.

Text is from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia,
unless stated otherwise.

William Morris (24 March 1834 – 3 October 1896) was an English textile designer, poet, novelist, translator, and socialist activist. Associated with The British Arts and Crafts Movement, he was a major contributor to the revival of traditional British textile arts and methods of production. His literary contributions helped to establish the modern fantasy genre, while he played a significant role in propagating the early socialist movement in Britain.

Born in Walthamstow, Essex, to a wealthy middle-class family, Morris came under the strong influence of Mediaevalism while studying Classics at Oxford University, there joining the Birmingham Set.

"Mary Isobel" Embroidery.

"Mary Isobel" is a beautifully-ornate design created by John Henry Dearle and originally sold
as an embroidery kit by Morris and Co., circa 1890. Named after the lady who embroidered it,
"Mary Isobel" comes richly-embroidered on linen and on 100% silk and is also available
in a printed fabric in the Morris V Collection.

After University, he trained as an architect, married Jane Burden, and developed close friendships with the Pre-Raphaelite artists Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti and with the Neo-Gothic architect Philip Webb.

Webb and Morris designed a family home, Red House, in Bexleyheath, Kent, where the latter lived from 1859 to 1865, before moving to Bloomsbury, central London. In 1861, Morris founded a decorative arts firm with Burne-Jones, Rossetti, Webb, and others: The Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Co. Becoming highly fashionable and much in demand, the firm profoundly influenced interior decoration throughout The Victorian Period, with Morris designing tapestries, wallpaper, fabrics, furniture, and Stained-Glass Windows. In 1875, Morris assumed total control of the company, which was renamed Morris and Co.

Morris designed "Pimpernel" in 1876 and later chose it to decorate his dining room at
Kelmscott House in Hammersmith London. With its complex structure and swirling rhythms, Pimpernel is available in five stunning colourways, based on the originals.

Although retaining a main home in London, from 1871 Morris rented the rural retreat of Kelmscott Manor, Oxfordshire. Greatly influenced by visits to Iceland, with Eiríkr Magnússon he produced a series of English-language translations of Icelandic Sagas.

He also achieved success with the publication of his epic poems and novels, namely The Earthly Paradise (1868–1870), A Dream of John Ball (1888), the utopian News from Nowhere (1890), and the fantasy romance The Well at The World's End (1896).

"The Red House",
Bexleyheath, Kent.
Co-designed by William Morris and
where Morris lived from 1859 to 1865.
Photo: 27 May 2014.
Source: Own work.
(Wikimedia Commons)

In 1877, he founded The Society For The Protection of Ancient Buildings to campaign against the damage caused by architectural restoration. Embracing Marxism and influenced by Anarchism, in the 1880s Morris became a committed revolutionary socialist activist; after an involvement in The Social Democratic Federation (SDF), he founded The Socialist League in 1884, but broke with that organisation in 1890. In 1891, he founded The Kelmscott Press, to publish limited-edition, illuminated-style, print books, a cause to which he devoted his final years.

Morris is recognised as one of the most significant cultural figures of Victorian Britain; though best known in his lifetime as a poet, he posthumously became better known for his designs. Founded in 1955, The William Morris Society is devoted to his legacy, while multiple biographies and studies of his work have seen publication. Many of the buildings associated with his life are open to visitors, much of his work can be found in art galleries and museums, and his designs are still in production.

Portrait of William Morris, aged 53.
Date: First published 1899 (photo, circa, 1887).
Google Books edition of J. W. Mackail The Life of William Morris in two volumes, 
London, New York and Bombay: Longmans, Green and Co., 1899.
Author: Frederick Hollyer (1838–1933).
(Wikimedia Commons)

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