Getting to know... the William Morris Gallery

The William Morris Gallery is opening up its picturesque surroundings to our new fundraising initiative, Art Miles, in March. We talk to 2013's Museum of the Year about radical artists, facelifts and beautiful back gardens.

William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow Edmund Sumner

William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow


Edmund Sumner

Age: I'm 65 this year, but thanks to my major facelift in 2012 I only look a fraction of my age.

Describe yourself in three words: friendly, inspiring, surprising.

What is your most treasured possession? William Morris's brown battered satchel that he carried with him on political demonstrations – a humble but evocative reminder of his campaigns for social justice.

Who was your most famous visitor? My most precocious visitor was Morris himself, who lived here as a teenager. Since then I've welcomed many other artistic radicals, most recently Jeremy Deller.

What is your greatest shop success? My exclusive range of gifts featuring some of Morris's best-loved patterns.

Any museum pets? Look out for all the birds and animals that feature in Morris's designs and the friendly ducks that live on the moat in the gardens. I also have a tame Icelandic dragon living in my Story Lounge!

One thing that could make you better is... I'd love a bit more space to share more of my extraordinary collection with the public.

You have a museum crush on... 7 Hammersmith Terrace, home to Morris's close friend Emery Walker. I love to travel back in time to experience its atmospheric Victorian interior.

What do you most dislike about your appearance? I love my new appearance but can't wait to see the summer flowers in their full splendour.

You're most happy when… I'm packed with families enjoying craft activities, interacting with the displays and living up to Morris's belief that everyone can be creative!

This year you’re excited about... My first major commission – a photographic exhibition by Turner Prize-nominee Yinka Shonibare MBE, created with the help of local residents.

Why should people come and walk all over you for Art Miles? Because it's a great way to raise funds while celebrating Morris's favourite things: curiosity, creativity and community spirit. Plus it's a unique way to experience the beautiful surroundings of Lloyd Park, my back garden!

Learn more about Art Miles and register to take part in a fundraising walk around the William Morris Gallery.

Venue details

William Morris Gallery Lloyd Park, Forest Road Greater London E17 4PP 020 8496 4391

Entry details

Free to all
Offers with National Art Pass

Tues Sun, 10am 5pm

Tags: art-miles