Arts and Craft


William Morris was one of the most prolific designers of the late 19th century; he took a stand against the low production methods and the decline of craftsmanship and campaigned for the revival of traditional skills to create quality handcrafted objects that were both useful and pleasing to the eye.  With a team of artist friends, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, Ford Maddox Brown and Philip Webb, who had designed, built and furnished his Red house in Kent, Morris promoted decoration and design using local, natural materials, and traditional crafts.

Morris believed that there were two distinct types of furniture: practical everyday furniture and grander more formal furniture. The first needed to be solid, well made and well proportions the second was intended for important rooms and should be aesthetically pleasing with carving and inlaid or painted decoration to make it more elaborate and elegant.

Throughout his life Morris was fascinated by textiles, considering them to be an essential part of decorating a home. He thought machine made fabric mediocre and uninspiring, and spent much time experimenting with pattern, texture and colour. Morris and Co. produced textiles with a highly individual style, based on flat, well balanced, and integrated patterns of flowers, fruits and foliage- roses, honeysuckle, tulips, strawberries, poppies, ivy- as well as bird and animal motifs. These woven and printed textiles, made of wool, cotton, linen and hand woven silk were used for upholstery, curtains, wallpaper and carpets. Many of these designs are still available today.