Housed in a fine Georgian building, the gallery is the only one in Britain dedicated to the leader of the Arts and Crafts movement.
The gallery explores Morris's work as a designer, author, businessman and political activist, ranging from his utopian novel News from Nowhere to Morris & Co. furniture catalogues. He lived in the building that houses the gallery from 1848 to 1856, with his widowed mother and eight siblings.
The William Morris Gallery was crowned Museum of the Year 2013 for its major renovation and creative reinterpretation of the life and work of Morris.
To date, the gallery has run two successful Art Happens crowdfunding campaigns. In 2016, they raised almost £11,000 to enable ceramicist Clare Twomey to create a vast tile panel embellished with Chrysanthemum, one of William Morris's most compelling and intricate designs. In 2017 they raised over £15,000 to create a major new exhibition dedicated to the work of May Morris.
The new displays range in scale from a full-room reproduction of one of Morris’s workshops to a single sheet of paper, on which Morris explains his rejection of a career as a clergyman to pursue a life dedicated to art.
His political activism is a recurring theme – one object is displayed against a background listing the speeches he made advocating socialism, while a ‘fighting for a cause’ board invites visitors to submit their campaigns alongside Morris’s own, ‘art for all’ and ‘abolish capitalism’.