Housed in a fine Georgian building, the William Morris Gallery is the only gallery in Britain dedicated to the leader of the Arts and Crafts movement.
The gallery explores William Morris's work as a designer, author, businessman and political activist, ranging from his utopian novel News from Nowhere to Morris & Co furniture catalogues. Morris lived in the building that houses the gallery from 1848 to 1856, with his mother and eight siblings.
The gallery was crowned Art Fund Museum of the Year 2013 for its major renovation and creative reinterpretation of Morris's life and work.
What to see
Immerse yourself in Morris’s prolific creativity, which encompassed textiles, wallpapers, furniture, stained glass, ceramics, metalwork and books. There are personal items too, such as his coffee cup, satchel, and a single sheet of paper on which he explains his rejection of a career as a clergyman to pursue a life dedicated to art.
His closest collaborators, including Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Philip Webb are also well-represented.
Take a lesson in bucking the trend and enjoy the tapestries that Morris devoted himself to, despite this art form being hugely unpopular at the time. He taught himself to weave – spending over 500 hours on his first attempt – and eventually succeeded in reviving this ‘noblest of the weaving arts’.
Did you know?
The highly influential Bauhaus school of art, which existed between 1919 and 1933, was itself deeply indebted to the work of William Morris. Its founder, Walter Gropius, acknowledged this relationship, but there has never before been an exhibition in the UK exploring the connections.
In October, the William Morris Gallery hopes to present Pioneers: William Morris and the Bauhaus, an exhibition showing side-by-side for the first time objects made at the Bauhaus with objects from the Arts and Crafts movement. The gallery is running an Art Happens crowdfunding campaign to help make this exciting project happen.