MORRIS, William

(1834 - 1896)
"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." 

William Morris was a man of many passions, textile designer, artist, writer, printer and socialist, a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and key proponent of the Arts and Crafts Movement.

As a student at Oxford he met Edward Burne-Jones and through him became associated with Rossetti and his circle, meeting his wife, Jane Burden, a favoured model of the Pre-Raphaelites.  Author of several volumes of poetry Morris's first book The Defence of Guenevere & Other Poems was published in 1858, but he is also instrumental in creating the "fantasy" genre, with works such as The Well at World's End, which in turn influenced the work of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Morris and his friends decorated and designed furniture for Morris's home, Red House and it was the success of this project which led them to set up the design company, which later became known as Morris & Co.

In 1891 Morris founded the Kelmscott Press, using traditional methods and reawakening the ideals of fine book design, the legacy of the Kelmscott Press is some 53 fine books, of which the Kelmscott Chaucer is generally regarded as a masterpiece of fine printing.


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 William MORRIS

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