Sometimes called the Father of Arts & Crafts Architecture, Philip Webb was a life-long friend and business partner of William Morris.

Born in Oxford, Webb met Morris while working in London as a junior assistant to architect George Edmund Street, before leaving to establish his own practice in 1858. He is best known as the architect responsible for Red House in Bexleyheath, which he designed for William Morris in 1859. Along with Morris, Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Webb was one of the founding partners of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co., the interior decorating and furnishing business which would later become Morris & Co. These four watercolours were original designs for MorrisÂ’s tapestry The Forest, which was first exhibited at the 1887 Arts & Crafts exhibition in Wolverhampton. Depicting a hare, fox, raven and lion, the watercolours were owned by local industrialist Laurence Hodson, a philanthropist and collector who decorated his home at Compton Hall with Morris furnishings. The works were last exhibited in Wolverhampton over a century ago, but have returned to public display in the city after their purchase for Wightwick Manor. Built for the industrialist Theodore Mander in 1887 and developed in the 20th century by his son Geoffrey, Wightwick is furnished with Morris textiles and wallpapers and features one of BritainÂ’s greatest Arts & Crafts interiors.


Estate of William Morris; Lawrence W. Hodson; by descent; Dreweatts, Donnington Priory.

Back to top