Considered one of the most prominent actors of the Victorian era, William Morris (1843-1896) was a poet, artist, designer, and editor, and did not hesitate to express his socialist political views, which at the time were frowned upon by the establishment.
His encounters with Rossetti and Burne-Jones, as well as his religious studies, made him a man of manifold talents. From this mixture of genres, William Morris would go on to construct a remarkable career, applying his ideas through various enterprises he established under the name of the 'William Morris Companies', revolutionising both interior decorating and architecture. He quickly understood the advantage of industrial production techniques, which he used to design his creations. Together with John Ruskin, he also became a co-founder of the Arts and Crafts movement. Despite his admiration for Ruskin, he did not hesitate to publish his own poems in 1858 in his publishing house, Kelmscott Press.
His fascination with the Pre-Raphaelite painters lead him to push aside the canons of English art, and, under the influence of Ruskin, to launch the rediscovery of the medieval style of decoration.
While drawing tapestries, carpets, glasswork, and other fine elements of interior decoration, he became a fervent defender of socialism and participated actively in the Socialist Democratic Federation, which later became known as the Socialist League. William Morris transformed his dreams and ideals into the deeds that still inspire our admiration today.
Through a series of illustrations, this work examines the scope of Morris’s talent, which continues to have a major influence on our daily lives today.
Arthur Clutton-Brock was a distinguished essayist and journalist of the turn of the 18th and the 19th century but he was also an art critic. Thanks to his multiple talents, he analysed the works of poets such as Shelley in Shelley: The Man and the Poet but also of well-known painters such as William Morris in William Morris: His Works and Influence.
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