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William Morris: Kunde von Nirgendwo

»Ja, so soll es sein! Und wenn andere die neue Welt sehen können, wie ich sie gesehen habe, dann kann man, was ich erlebt, eher Gesicht nennen als einen Traum.«  William Morris

William Morris‘ sozialistische Utopie Kunde von Nirgendwo spielt mit der Wortbedeutung von U-topia als Nicht-Ort. Dabei ist sein Roman sehr genau verortet, nämlich im Londoner Vorort Hammersmith.

Roman August 2016 Edition Nautilus http://www.edition-nautilus.de

If you want a golden rule

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.

William Morris

How We Live and How We Might Live


Why I am a Communist

Printed first in the anarchist journal Liberty in 1894, then reprinted as part of the series of Why I am ... penny pamphlets, published by James Tochatti for the Liberty press in the same year. Morris's article was paired with Why I Am an Expropriationist by Louisa Sarah Bevington. The final paragraph is transcribed from Morris's manuscript, available on the website of the International Institute of Social History.


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The Enchanted Garden in 2018

⠀ William Morris was a key figure in the development of domestic garden design, helping to popularise the Arts and Crafts garden among the artistic middle class in England and the US. His gardens at Red House and then Kelmscott Manor supplied endless inspiration to Morris, his family and friends.⠀ ⠀ The Enchanted Garden will explore how Morris's contemporaries and subsequent generations of artists - from the Pre-Raphaelites to the Bloomsbury Group - have responded to the allure of garden spaces, using them as stages for the magical, menacing and romantic. Featured artists include Claude Monet, Lucian Pissarro, Edward Burne-Jones, Stanley Spencer, Beatrix Potter, Cicely Mary Barker, Roger Fry and Vanessa Bell.⠀ ⠀ The exhibition will feature highlights from our own collection, including this design for Trellis wallpaper from 1862 by Morris and Philip Webb. (Webb did the birds.)

Haiku Adventure - bis 15.09.2019

Until 15 September 2019

Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10am - 5pm

Haiku Adventure: The Craft of Games explores the intersection between traditional Japanese woodblock prints and videogames - two different mediums separated by centuries and yet linked by a common sensibility.

Small Island Games present the development of their 'indie' title Haiku Adventure, juxtaposing its creative process with its artistic influence: the ukiyo-e prints of Edo-era Japan. The display follows on from the Gallery's 2017 exhibition, Sheer Pleasure: Frank Brangwyn and the Art of Japan, which was formative to the game's conception.

This exhibition showcases original Japanese prints alongside interactive game displays and an overview of the development process, allowing visitors to experience a modern adaptation of an ancient craft.

Find out more: http://www.wmgallery.org.uk

Pioneers: William Morris and the Bauhaus

19 October 2019 to 26 January 2020

Tuesday - Sunday, 10am - 5pm. Free admission (suggested donation £5)

Pioneers: William Morris and the Bauhaus is the first exhibition in the UK to fully explore the relationship between the English Arts and Crafts movement and the Bauhaus, the ground-breaking German art school established by Walter Gropius. Timed to coincide with the centenary of the founding of the Bauhaus in 1919, it brings together over 60 objects from nine international and domestic lenders, some of which have never been displayed in the UK before.

The exhibition uses Morris’s key principles of Unity, Craft, Simplicity and Community as a lens to explore the early years of the Bauhaus, from its establishment as a radical new school in the conservative city of Weimar, to its move to a purpose-built campus in Dessau. Along the way, the Bauhauslers embraced a diverse range of ideas and aesthetics as they adopted and adapted the messages of the Arts and Crafts movement in their quest to design a better world. In showing objects made at the Bauhaus alongside Morris’s own pioneering designs, the exhibition invites visitors to explore alternative perspectives on the Bauhaus, as well as see Morris’s legacy in a new light.

Alongside the exhibition is a display of three pieces by acclaimed London-based fashion designer Mary Katrantzou, who is lending garments from her Autumn/Winter 2018 collection, which combines Bauhaus prints with patterns inspired by William Morris. There is also an installation by Bauhaus Artist in Residence, Nicholas Pankhurst.

Pioneers: William Morris and the Bauhaus has been funded through Art Happens, the Art Fund's crowdfunding platform.

Find out more: http://www.wmgallery.org.uk

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Morris and Company: The Business of Beauty - Dec 18, 2021–Jun 13, 2022

Artist, designer, and writer William Morris founded Morris & Co. 160 years ago, in 1861. The company quickly became regarded for the objects it designed and made for home interiors—handmade wallpapers, textiles, and furniture—and its style became synonymous with the British Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th century.

Beyond its aesthetic offerings, the home furnishings company had deep philosophical objectives: to elevate handmade objects over mass-produced goods and to bring art into the everyday.

LEARN MORE—https://bit.ly/309qtEA

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Beyond its aesthetic offerings, the home furnishings company had deep philosophical objectives: to elevate handmade objects over mass-produced goods and to bring art into the everyday.

Artist, designer, and writer William Morris (1838–1896) founded Morris & Co. 160 years ago, in 1861. The company quickly became regarded for the objects it designed and made for home interiors—handmade wallpapers, textiles, and furniture—and its style became synonymous with the British Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th century. Morris was both an avid student of art history and devotee of the natural world, and his and his company’s works were characterized by a design vocabulary drawn from both European and Middle Eastern historical fabric designs and featured, and were titled after, flowers and plants.

Morris and his collaborators—which included his wife Jane Burden Morris, younger daughter May Morris, artisan and designer John Henry Dearle, as well as artists such as Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rosetti—considered themselves design reformers. They were on a mission to bring beauty back into the lives of their consumers through thoughtful design and production that foregrounded the agency of artisans and anti-industrial techniques. Accordingly, they experimented with dye recipes based on natural materials, revived hand-printing methods for fabrics and wallpapers, and reintroduced hand weaving for woven wool and silk textiles as well as pictorial tapestries.

Although Morris & Co. closed its doors in 1940, the company’s aesthetic vision remains potent to this day through the continued reimagining and reworking of the textile and wallpaper designs. This exhibition explores that longevity, highlighting Morris & Co’s design tenets and favored techniques as well as Chicago area sites where the work of Morris and his contemporaries appeared. The presentation comprises approximately 40 works, drawn primarily from the Art Institute’s significant holdings, many of which were generously given to the museum by Mr. and Mrs. John Bryan and the Crab Tree Farm Foundation.



Lead support for Morris and Company: The Business of Beauty is generously provided by The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation.

Additional support is contributed by the Gordon and Carole Segal Exhibition Fund.

In-kind support is provided by Sanderson Design Group, manufacturer of Morris & Co. wallpaper and fabric designs.

May Morris: Designer and Advocate

Immersed in the world of British design practically from birth, May Morris not only grew to run the embroidery studio of her family’s famous business but also pursued her own endeavors: as a designer, teacher, lecturer, and activist.

The family business was the home furnishings empire Morris & Co., founded by her father, William Morris (1834–96). The company began as Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co., a collaborative effort with six other partners—including fellow artists Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Philip Webb, and Ford Maddox Brown, but in 1875, Morris bought out the partners, becoming sole owner and primary designer. Despite his proprietorship, Morris continued to seek experts with which to develop his ideas. One of those experts was May.

Born in 1862, May was the younger of William Morris and Jane Burden’s two daughters. Until recently, her life and work existed primarily in the shadow of her father’s achievements, but when we look at her life more closely, it is clear that she was a woman who recognized her privileged position in the world and used her advantages—education, talent, financial stability—in ways that she hoped would better the lives of women who were less fortunate. At the same time, she spent much of her professional life continuing to design for Morris & Co. and to promote the welfare of the firm that bore her family name.

Black-and-white photograph of a light-skinned young woman with dark hair seated in a high-back wood chair, her arms on the arm rests and a curtain behind her. She wears a dark, silky dress with an open neckline and a pattern at the bottom of the skirt. May Morris, about 1909

Bain News Service, publisher. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-DIG-ppmsca-08778. George Grantham Bain Collection

May was inducted into the world of art and design early. As a child, she, her mother, and her older sister, Jenny, were surrounded by her father’s artistic circle of friends and collaborators, including Burne-Jones, Rossetti, and their families. The two Morris girls were often asked to act as models for sketches, along with their mother and the Burne-Jones children. Jane Burden Morris contributed to the decoration of their homes in addition to teaching her two daughters to embroider.

May showed early and exceptional promise as an artist as well as a craftsperson. She also had a formal art education in London, at what is now the Royal College of Art. In recognition of her talents and knowledge, May was given the responsibility of supervising all of the embroidery operations of Morris & Co. in 1885. She was just 23 years old.

EMBROIDERED HOME FURNISHINGS BY MORRIS & CO. These two fire screens illustrate the variety of ways in which one could purchase objects from Morris & Co. The entire object could be bought complete—the wooden frame and the embroidery were executed by Morris & Co., assembled, and sold. Alternately, a customer could buy a fabric marked with the outline of a design and complete it themselves.

A freestanding screen with a varnished wooden frame features a single panel with a central vase and floral motif in shades of pink and pale yellow. Flowerpot Fire Screen, Design early 1880s William Morris

May Morris herself stitched several versions of her father’s Flowerpot design from 1876, and she may have stitched this one.

A freestanding screen with a varnished wooden frame features a floral motif with long pink petals and multitonal green leaves. Honeysuckle Fire Screen, Design early to mid-1890s May Morris

The Honeysuckle design may have been sold as a kit for an amateur to embroider themselves, as the stitching is less precise.

Eleven years later, after the death of her father, longtime Morris & Co. employee John Henry Dearle became head designer, and he and May worked closely together. An example of their partnership is the Peony panel for a screen that was designed by Dearle; a drawing of it that survives has annotations by May.

A beige-colored cloth with a floral embroidery pattern outlined lightly in sienna. Only a portion has been embroidered, and only partially: a pink peony on a thin vertical branch with multitonal green leaves. Peony (detail), design 1885-90, made 1905–17

Partially worked by Lady Phipson Beale, produced by Morris & Company. Gift of Crab Tree Farm Foundation

In 1893, May published a book, Decorative Needlework, that outlined her philosophy of art and design. She advocated that designers should study nature: “the living flower should inspire a living ornament … certain characteristics being dwelt upon, but the forms all simplified, leaves flatly arranged, stems bent in flowing curves to fill the required spaces.” She also championed using a limited number of stitches. With its nature-inspired subject and simplified forms, the table cover, Vine Leaf, exemplifies her recommended approach. While the majority of the piece is filled with simple darning stitches, the skill of a professional is revealed in the way the stitch direction is varied, subtly shifting the play of light over the surface.

A square tapestry in beige, pink, peach, green, and blue featuring a central, four-leafed blossom. Inside the blossom is an intricate floral motif with leaves and geometrically twisted vines at center. Vine Leaf, 1896

Designed by May Morris, produced by Morris & Company. Gift of Crab Tree Farm Foundation

This composition combines elements of symmetrical formal English garden design with elements that evoke Celtic knots and wild Persian tulips, along with a border that references Japanese design elements.

May harshly criticized the economic structures that resulted in low prices for handmade embroidery—prices that reflected neither the aesthetic value of the work nor the value of the labor involved. Machine embroidery had certainly influenced consumers’ perception of the cost of any such work. May was uncompromising in her assessment of this situation, saying, “no human being has the right to buy fineries at a price which … cannot possibly represent a fair remuneration to the worker.” In support of female artists and designers, she founded the Women’s Guild for Arts in 1907 to provide the support and networking opportunities they lacked, as they were excluded from the Art Worker’s Guild on the basis of gender.

The living flower should inspire a living ornament … certain characteristics being dwelt upon, but the forms all simplified, leaves flatly arranged, stems bent in flowing curves to fill the requires spaces.

—May Morris

In the winter of 1909–10, she embarked on an American lecture tour that included a monthlong stop in Chicago and a talk at the city’s Glessner House, which had been furnished with Morris & Co. fabrics and wallpapers in the late 1880s. Frances Glessner had become enamored with Willam Morris’s designs after reading his Hopes and Fears for Art (1882), a collection of five published lectures. When the Glessners hired an architect to design their new house on Prairie Avenue, the Boston-based H. H. Richardson—who was also a fan of Hopes and Fears for Art and had met Morris in London—Frances and her architect were already united in their admiration for Morris & Co. interior furnishings.

A richly decorator parlor room with dark wood trim and floral wallpaper, a grand piano at left and am armless tufted daybed at right. A roaring fire burns in the central marble fireplace, which is flanked by two open wooden doors. The parlor of Glessner house, on Chicago’s Prairie Avenue, 2012

Photo by James Caulfield, courtesy of Glessner House

May Morris’s Lotus design can be glimpsed in partial profile on the frame of the open parlor door at left.

Among the many Morris & Co. textiles and wallpapers used in the Glessner House were the silk parlor door curtains in a pattern called Lotus, a design attributed to May. Like many embroideries from the firm, the fabric was likely sold with the pattern marked on the silk and then stitched in Chicago, under the direction of Frances Glessner by the Decorative Arts Society. We can only imagine how May felt when she entered the Glessner’s home, in the middle of the United States, and was immersed in an environment that would have felt very familiar to her—one that intermingled works by Morris & Co. with antique fabrics, as her family had done at their own home, Kelmscott Manor.

A long, rectangular green textile with champagne-, peach-, and green-colored floral details and a wide border in the same color scheme. Lotus, design by 1888, made 1888

Design attributed to May Morris, produced by Morris & Co., London, embroidered by the Decorative Arts Society, Chicago. Gift of Mrs. John J. Glessner

During her stay in Chicago, May was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune and questioned on her opinions on American art, architecture, and women’s suffrage. On the subject of the vote for women, she admitted that while she was in favor, she was not actively engaged in the struggle herself, saying, “My interest in suffrage is linked with the guild workers in the arts and crafts.” She had, however, attended a meeting of suffragettes at Carnegie Hall in New York prior to coming to Chicago.

A middle-aged woman in a light-colored dress sits on a small wooden couch and works on a large floor-to-ceiling wooden loom, an animal skin on the floor before her and vertically patterned floral wallpaper behind her. May Morris, before 1921

Unknown photographer. National Portrait Gallery, London, Photographs Collection. Given by Robert R. Steele, 1939. © National Portrait Gallery, London. NPG x 1105

May returned to England from her American lecture tour an even more fervent supporter of trade unions and professional support for women artists. For her, education and the possibility of viable careers in the arts for women were key components to gender reform in society. Like her father, May was an intelligent and energetic personality, passionate in her advocacy for good design that was based on a knowledge of history, reverence for the natural world, respect for craft, and the union of inspiration and labor.

You can see several of May Morris’s designs among dozens by the family firm in Morris and Company: The Business of Beauty, on view beginning December 18 in Galleries 57–9.

—Melinda Watt, Chair and Christa C. Mayer Thurman Curator, Textiles

Author’s Note: The life of May Morris is better known in the 21st century thanks to a number of women who championed her work. May Morris: Arts and Crafts Designer was published in 2017 to coincide with the exhibition May Morris: Art and Life, held at the William Morris Gallery in London that year. I am also grateful to William Tyre, director of the Glessner House, who has shared many stories about this remarkable architectural gem.

SPONSORS Lead support for Morris and Company: The Business of Beauty is generously provided by The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation.

Additional support is contributed by the Gordon and Carole Segal Exhibition Fund.

In-kind support is provided by Sanderson Design Group, manufacturer of Morris & Co. wallpaper and fabric designs.




We're looking for four new team members at William Morris Gallery==

Are you interested in joining us? If you're experienced or looking to start a career in museums and galleries then we might have the role for you: - Duty Manager, full time - Gallery Assistant, full time (18-month, fixed term) - Visitor Assistant, 25 hours per week - Visitor Assistant, 18 hours per week If you'd like to learn a little more about the roles and meet some of the team, we've planned drop-in and online information sessions on the 16 August and 22 August. For more details about these sessions, job descriptions and application links, visit our jobs and opportunities page here: https://wmgallery.org.uk/about-us/jobs-and-opportunities/ Application deadline: Monday 4 September 2023 Email alaitz.arregi@walthamforest.gov.uk with any questions.

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William Morris: Romantic to Revolutionary

"This biographical study is a window into 19th-century British society and the life of William Morris - the great craftsman, architect, designer, poet, and writer - who remains a monumental and influential figure to this day. This account chronicles how his concern with artistic and human values led him to cross what he called the river of fire and become a committed socialist - committed not only to the theory of socialism but also to the practice of it in the day-to-day struggle of working women and men in Victorian England. While both the British Labor Movement and the Marxists have venerated Morris, this legacy of his life proves that many of his ideas did not accord with the dominant reforming tendencies, providing a unique perspective on Morris scholarship"--Mazon.com


Titel William Morris: Romantic to Revolutionary Spectre classics Autor/in E. P. Thompson Ausgabe 2 Verlag PM Press, 2011 ISBN 0850366801, 9780850366808 Länge 626 Seiten

The Cambridge Companion to William Morris

In his short life, William Morris (1834-96) combined the roles of poet, author, painter, designer, translator, lecturer, political activist, journalist, weaver, bookmaker, and businessman. This volume draws together influential voices from different disciplines who have participated in the recent critical, political, and curatorial revival of his work, with essays exploring the contemporary resonance of his exceptional legacy. As a critic of capitalism, his thinking has thrived in these years of financial crisis; as a theorist of work and craftsmanship, his legacy interacts with a more recent ethics of making that questions the values of 'off-shored' production; and as a protector of landscape and buildings Morris's concern with what is precious strikes a chord in our age of environmental crisis. At the same time, a careful and scholarly approach observes the particularity of Morris's context, in a way that confounds the 'false friends' of hasty historical reception and reveals unexpected connections.

EDITOR: Marcus Waithe, Univ. of Cambridge AVAILABILITY: available from May 2024 FORMAT: Paperback ISBN: 9781108940634


Retail & Licensing Officer

We’re currently recruiting for a Retail & Licensing Officer to join the team at William Morris Gallery.

Bring your experience in buying and retail operations to this role, where you'll be supporting the Gallery’s Head of Commercial with daily retail operations both in store and online and the marketing and development of product licensing activities and long-term partnerships.

Application deadline: Monday 3 June 2024


This June at Mini Morris! In June, we're celebrating ceramic art and becoming mini potters for the day. Get ready for a hands-on adventure into the world of pottery inspired by the beauty of nature and the Mingei clay art you can see on display now at the Art Without Heroes exhibition. Mini Morris sessions are now DROP IN ONLY and we are moving to new sessions times. You can now choose from two times during the morning: 10am to 11am 11.45am to 12.45pm Mini Morris. Toddler-friendly crafting for 2-5 year olds. FREE. All sessions include a tour of the Gallery, the craft activity, singing and snack time. As we have limited capacity, please arrive on time and sign up at the front desk. https://wmgallery.org.uk/event/nature-inspired-clay-fun/

Meine Werkzeuge