Who on Earth Was William Morris?

By Gary Cutlack on at

According to Google's Doodle, William Morris is celebrating his 182nd birthday today, making him the oldest living... no wait, he's dead. What is up with Google advertising the blogs of dead people all the time?

He Sounds Like A Cigarette Company
He unleashed a cancer of a different kind -- the Arts and Crafts Movement. All that swirly wallpaper people put a few sheets of above their beds to make their studio flats seem more appealing and grown up is down to Morris, who, along with a few other textile enthusiasts of the day, pioneered the new design and print processes that would revolutionise home furnishings. All those cushions on the bed are his fault.

But All My Walls Are Magnolia
Well that's due to the ins and outs of fashion. In his day, and on and off again over the years, Morris' popularity has risen and fallen akin to the length of a fashionable lady about town's hemline. At the moment swirly wallpaper designs are IN, so shares in Morris are UP.

What Sort Of Designs?
Mostly hand drawn flowery stuff, and wardrobes with unnecessary wood noodlings. Overly complicated drawer handles. Stained glass windows. Sewing pictures. Mirrors with big frames. Peacocks. That sort of thing. Ask Kirstie Allsopp.

Kirstie Allsopp Blocked Me On Twitter For Reasons I Can't Remember
Oh, well, probably the most renowned examples of William Morris's work can be found at the Red House, his actual home. Designed by co-arts-conspirator Philip Webb and completed in the 1860s, this contains many of his early works, plus is a showcase not just of his design but also of the sort of quality craftsmanship and living standards he wanted the well-to-do of the day to aspire to and own.

He Was Like A One-man Ikea?
Yes, except he branched out into re-illustrating medieval books, knocked up a few tapestries, and stood up for hand-printing and bespoke design in an age of increasing industrialisation.

What Were His Meatballs Like?
The best.

Might I Be Able To Show My Support And Awareness of His Work Without Leaving The House?
His gallery and museum in Walthamstow has a shop that does mugs in the post. Paying £10 for one mug and people being OK with that is but one of his many legacies. [Google]


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