Today marks what would be the 182nd birthday of textile designer, poet and novelist (amongst other things!) William Morris.
I live in London’s East end, a stone’s throw away from where William Morris was born, on 24th March 1834. Walthamstow houses the William Morris Gallery, The Water House. Which was William’s boyhood home.
After his marriage in April 1859, William and his new wife Jane moved to Red House in Bexleyheath, Kent. Red House was designed by friend and architect Phillip Webb and is said to be the start of the Arts & Crafts movement due to its innovative design.
Red House is now owned by the National Trust and is high up on my list to visit this spring!
After forming Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. in 1861 producing furniture and decoration, the company moved its business to Red House in 1864. Shortly after the first designs of Morris’s famous wallpaper were registered.
As well as wallpaper, Morris went on to design carpets, tiles, stained glass and fabric. Many of his decorative fabrics were used in St James’ Palace.
In the 1880’s the Arts & Crafts movement was in full swing and the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society show opened in 1888.
Shortly after Morris started the Kelmscott Press, publishing both his own writings and designing elaborate and decorative borders for the books.
William suffered from anxiety and over worked himself. Often up to 18 hours a day. His health started to deteriorate throughout 1896 and on the 3rd of October of the same year he died peacefully at Kelmscott Manor in the Cotswolds. The manor is now owned by the Society of Antiquaries and can be visited between April and October.
Morris left a legacy and has been a huge inspiration for artists and designers throughout the years.
Many firms now produce wallpapers that provoke the Arts & Crafts vibe and Morris’s innovative style.
I love the Orangerie and lotus wallpapers by Farrow & Ball
William Morris famously said “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” And with that, I’m off for a Spring Clean and declutter!