top of page
  • Writer's pictureEmma

Who was William Morris?

William Morris is a name that you may or may not be familiar with and there is much written about him, but his work is legendary. Born on 24th March 1834 in Walthamstow, Essex.

William Morris By Frederick Hollyer - Google Books edition of J. W. Mackail The Life of William Morris in two volumes, London, New York and Bombay: Longmans, Green and Co., 1899, Public Domain,
William Morris by Frederick Hollyer, 1887

He became a British textile designer, and in April 1861 he founded a decorative arts company with six other partners, they referred to themselves as "the Firm".

This became highly fashionable and very much in demand. With the firm influencing interior decorations throughout the Victoria period. He was personally involved in manufacture as well as design and he strove to unite all the arts within the decoration of the home, emphasizing nature and simplicity of form.

By William Morris - Scanned from Gillian Naylor, William Morris by Himself: Designs and Writings,, Public Domain,
William Morris "Trellis" design

In 1861 he started focusing more of his energies on designing wallpaper patterns, the first being "Trellis" and he produced over 50 designs and this was what he later became renown for, however he also designed tapestries, furniture, fabrics, even stained glass windows, modelling his designs on medieval styles and using bold forms and strong colours. His patterns were based on flora and fauna, and his products were inspired by the vernacular or domestic traditions of the British countryside. In 1875 he assumed total control of the firm and renamed it Morris & Co.

Morris's designs quickly became popular, attracting interest when his company's work was exhibited at the 1862 International Exhibition in London. Much of Morris's early work was for churches and he won important interior design commissions at St James's Palace and the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum).

In 1871 William Morris had a rural retreat at Kelmscott Manor in Oxfordshire, during this time he achieved some success in the publication of some of his poems and novels and in 1891, he founded the Kelmscott Press to publish limited-edition, illuminated-style print books (Illuminated style print books are a formally prepared document where the text is decorated with flourishes such as borders and miniature illustrations) this was a cause to which he devoted his final years.

Morris is recognised as one of the most significant cultural figures of Victoria Britain. He was best known in his lifetime as a poet, although he has since became better known for his designs. William Morris died on 3rd October 1896.

In 1955 The William Morris Society was founded and is devoted to his legacy. Much of his work can be found in art galleries and museums, and his designs are still in production.

We are fortunate to stock and sell products that are licenced by the William Morris Gallery - the only museum dedicated to the life and works of this great man. This enables us to offer a wide range of high quality textile items in some of Morris's most famous and iconic designs, bringing you some of the most beautiful colours and patterns to your kitchen, table, home and gifts enhancing your home and creating beautiful artful spaces.

We are a small business, and every item we sell is made with the utmost care and attention. Our latest introductions to the William Morris range are our beautiful Cravats

Don't be mistaken in thinking Cravats are only for weddings or formal occasions! Cravats can be worn with casual clothing and are wonderful accessories to give your look panache without being stuffy or too formal. Easy to tie and comfortable to wear all day - they are a fabulous addition to your wardrobe! Why not wear inside the neck of a shirt to change the look completely and give a more relaxed air to your wardrobe, perfect as a stylish winter neck warmer! Shop the range HERE

William Morris's designs continue to grow in popularity and we intend to offer an ever evolving product range that reflects future trends, but always true to the great man’s original core philosophy and beliefs - the fact that his patterns have stood the test of time for over 160 years speaks volumes!

We hope you found this brief history of interest, feel free to leave a comment or share. If you have any question about any of our products please get in touch, we love to hear from you and are always happy to help, we don't hide from our customers behind web forms, you can easily reach us by telephone or email.

Thanks for reading

7 views1 comment

1 Comment

Vaughn Wiles
Vaughn Wiles
Nov 24, 2023

This is a really interesting article, thank you for sharing this information about this influential designer.

bottom of page