William Morris: Words & Wisdom
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Born in London in 1834, William Morris was a radical thinker whose democratic vision for society and art has continued to influence designers, artists and writers to this day, long after his death in 1896. He was a gifted poet, architect, painter, writer and textile designer, who also founded the Kelmscott Press, the most famous of the Arts and Crafts private presses.
Morris' ideas later came to influence the Garden City movement, as well as numerous artists and craftspeople, who sought to negotiate a viable place within the modern world in the troubled years that followed the First World War. His ideals inspired designers, including those who contributed to the 1951 Festival of Britain, with a direct sense of mission to bring the highest design standards within the reach of everyone.
During Morris' lifetime, Oscar Wilde thought him a master of all exquisite design and of all spiritual vision, while forty years after Morris' death George Bernard Shaw observed: He towers greater and greater above the horizon beneath which his best advertised contemporaries have disappeared.This collection of quotations by Morris, his friends, associates and those who came after, reveals and explores his passionately held viewthat beautiful, functional design should be accessible to all.
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Textile designer, writer and social pioneer, William Morris and his work have long been associated with the V&A. In 1865, his company was commissioned to design the West Dining Room at the museum, which features early examples of a number of the organic patterns that would make his name. Born in Walthamstow in 1836, Morris was captivated by nature from childhood, spending much of his time exploring Epping Forest and the surrounding countryside. These themes informed much of his textile design, and his mastery of pattern ensured an enduring appeal.