FAQs

Your Cart

Close
Paper Plane Your order qualifies for free standard delivery
Subtotal £0.00
Delivery £0.00
Order Total £0
Checkout Securely

10 Facts about William Morris

13th October 2018

We love writing about William Morris – his life, his work and his legacy. There’s so much behind his work; from his inspirations and the pioneering processes that he achieved to print his fabric to his politics and literature and poems. 

But – what might you not know about him? Here are our 10 quirkiest William Morris facts…

 

1. His nickname was Topsy

After a character in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”

 

2.  He was married with two daughters

One of the most famous muses of all time, he married Jane Burden They met after she was spotted by Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones; friends of Morris’ and members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. They saw her in the audience of a theatre in Oxford and wanted her to model for their art – Rossetti decided she’d be perfect for his Queen Guinevere. Though initially resisting, she eventually sat for their paintings and was soon engaged to be married to Morris. 

They had two daughters together; Jenny and May Morris. 

 

3. His wife Jane had a well known affair with his friend Rossetti                                    

As we said, Jane actually met Rossetti first. Though there was apparently an attraction between the two from the very beginning, he was already engaged to be married to Lizzie Siddal. Before he died, he did tell a friend that he went through with the marriage “out of a mistaken sense of loyalty and fear of giving pain” despite have fallen for another. Jane, from a poor family, couldn’t have rejected a proposal from a wealthy man and Morris, due to inheritance from his father, was a wealthy 24 year old who did adore Jane. 

The charming Rossetti, following the death of Lizzie Siddal in 1862, woo’d Jane and she frequently modelled for him over the years. The betrayal didn’t end there – Morris and Rossetti joined a lease on Kelmscott Manor and it enabled Jane and Rossetti to become even closer. Over the years, it even caused Morris to take a trip to Iceland to both explore and clear his head away from what was going on at his home. 

The affair was ended in 1876 following the decline of Rossetti’s health and addictions. When asked years later, Jane did admit to loving him. As a widow, she did confess she never truly Morris but never had any regrets as to the choice she made, “I suppose if I was young again I should do the same thing.”

 

4. He had strong political views

A socialist, Morris was more than just a designer. In 1884, Morris founded the Socialist League. In 1885 he was even arrested for disorderly conduct during a socialist demonstration. He’s famously quoted, ““…I do not want art for a few; any more than education for a few; or freedom for a few…” 

 

5. He was intended to be a man of the cloth

Along with his friend Edward Burne-Jones, they decided to become clergymen – their aim was to live a life of chastity and channel their energies into artistic pursuit. Ultimately, after a trip to Belgium and Northern France, they were inspired by Medieval churches and cathedrals and were inspired to dedicate themselves to a life of art instead. 

 

6. Not content with just textile and wallpaper designs, Morris also founded the Kelmscott Press. 

He wrote of the venture – “Here is a new craft to conquer and to perfect.” Printing began at the press in Spring 1891. He designed multiple fonts including “Golden” Roman typeface and “Troy” Gothic type along with “Chaucer.”

He worked to create beautiful books in regards to their designs which took into account their type, image and decorative elements – you can see beautiful examples of what he achieved today if you do a quick search on the Kelmscott Press.

 

7.  He travelled Iceland

Along with Faulkner, W.H. Evans and Magnusson, in July 1871, Morris left for Iceland. He visited twice and helped to form and confirm his political views on the inequality of the classes after he saw the poverty levels here. 

 

8. Morris, Marhsall, Faulkner & Co. – The Firm.

In April 1861, Morris, along with his friends; Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Philip Webb, Ford Madox Brown, Charles Faulker and Peter Paul Marshall, set up the decorative arts firm. It was in response to the fact he bought Red House and was unable to furnish it with textiles that were up to his standard and taste. He wanted to create and he saw an opportunity here. In March 1875, Morris disbanded the company and it led on to become Morris & Co. with the original partners working on their individual projects. However, lifelong friends Burne-Jones and Philip Webb remained producing designs for Morris & Co.

 

9. His legacy. 

His designs remain popular across generations and years. You’ll be just as likely to see his designs being crafted into beautiful furniture in stately homes as you will seeing the designs adorning the walls in quirky cafes. You might have spotted that our fabric was featured on the Alan Carr Christmas special last year – a nod to the fact Morris’ designs are often seen on Gogglebox on the couch of one of the couples. This season, you’ll see his designs strutting down the catwalk as part of H&M’s latest collection. Though his legacy includes his literature, poetry and political vision, his designs are really popular today, if not actually growing in popularity and awareness. Influencing designers and artists of today, along with everyone else who simply love his designs. 

 

10. His life work.

He achieved so much during his life, from his designs to work in politics and his writing – not to mention his pioneering methods of production in printing both textiles and literature with the Kelmscott Press. He did so much that upon his death, his physician gave cause of death as, “Simply being William Morris, and having done more work than most ten men.”

Related Articles

Post Title

Bluebells

How lovely it is to see the bluebells in flower!  The contrast between the intense blue flowers and the deep green leaves is just stunning.  ...

Post Title

The Library at Cragside

The Library at Cragside is a lovely room, completed in 1872, it was part Normal Shaw's first additions to the original house. It is the...

Post Title

Blackpool Tower, Pre-Raphaelite Ladies On The Stairs

The ceramic sculptures in Blackpool Tower buildings were modelled by Burmantofts’ top sculptor, E Caldwell  Spruce.   There are beautiful glazed ceramic sculptured pre-Raphaelite ladies  on...

Our Black Friday sale is now live! 🥂 On our website only, use code, BLACKFRIDAY10 all weekend for 10% off your order ☺️ Ends Sunday at midnight 🌙
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #preraphaelite #willowbough #tablescape #placemats #floraldesign
Dreaming of the sunshine 💭 This is our smallest size of tote bag, in our licensed William Morris Strawberry Thief, on this bike ride we were pretty happy that it was filled to the brim with snacks to eat on the beach ☀️ On Wintery nights we love to look back on the sunshine! ☁️
•
•
•
#strawberrythief #williammorris #preraphaelite #morris #williammorrisdesign #totebag #summerdreaming #williammorrisfabric #coronado
We're so thrilled our new website is now live! 🌿Just in time for Christmas shopping, it's much easier to use, and still full of beautiful licensed William Morris designs on every page! We hope you like the change, especially where lots of you are featured on the new 'inspiration' page! 🌟 We absolutely love that it showcases everyones tablescapes and craft projects, just click on them to see the design and who posted the photo so you can see more of their content ☺️ If you're happy for us to use your photos, just send us a message, we'd love it to be a page we can keep adding to throughout the seasons 🪴
Special thank you to @adigi_agency for creating our website, we love it! 🤍
•
•
•
#williammorris #morris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #onlinefabrics #countrykitchendecor #christmasgiftsideas #newwebsitelaunch
A few of our licensed William Morris designs all hanging out, aren’t they iconic! It’s amazing that you can see a Morris print and instantly know it’s his design 🌿
•
•
•
#williammorris #morris #williammorrisdesign #teatowels #goldenlily #strawberrythief #willowbough #upholsteryfabric #curtainfabric #onlinefabricshop
Hands up if you’re a Golden Lily fan 🙋‍♀️ Our licensed William Morris design tea towels make excellent Christmas gifts if you’re writing your Christmas list!🎄 
•
•
•
#williammorris #goldenlily #teatowels #christmasgiftsideas #morris #williammorrisfabric #kitchenaccessories #preraphaelite #christmasgiftidea
Always brightening up the kitchen; Willow Bough 🌿 What a special design ✨
•
•
•
#williammorrisfabric #williammorris #teatowel #willowbough #williammorrisdesign #designs #preraphaelite #teatowelsofinstagram
“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life” - William Morris. Some days, for us, that means decorating our tables with napkin bows and settling down for a slice of cake! 🧁
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #morris #fabric #strawberrythief #preraphaelite #tablecloth #tablescape
Fabric stack of floral dreams 💭
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabric #onlinefabric #curtainfabric #upholsteryfabric #fabricstack
We'd say Morris more than succeeded, with timeless designs and words, it shows true beauty and art will never age 🌿 Morris wrote this quote in "The Well At The World's End: Volume I." Have you ever read much of his poetry or writing? ✍️
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #preraphaelite #fabrics #quotes #quotestoliveby #strawberrythief #williammorrisdesign #quotesdaily #quotestagram #morris #williammorrisfabricdesigns
A little fabric stack full of William Morris floral magic 🌿
Is anyone else a little excited that it's only 100 days until Christmas... or is it too soon to talk about? We're quite excited for Christmas crafts, food and films! ☺️ We wonder what your favourite Morris design is? Does it change based on season? 🎄 (it's far too early for this emoji but we're excited and can't help it, sorry.)
-
-
-
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisdesign #design #strawberrythief #preraphaelite #cottonfabric #upholsteryfabric #curtainfabric #fabrics
Important conversation of the day at Laura's Beau HQ: who fancies a crumble and which is your favourite flavour? 🍎 Apple seems popular, so does rhubarb ☀️ One thing we can agree on is that we're all going to be baking them tonight - best get our fave oven gloves out! 👩‍🍳 These are our licensed William Morris Eyebright double oven gloves, isn't it such a beautiful pattern 🤍
-
-
-
#williammorris #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabric #morris #ovengloves #ovenglove #eyebright #inspiredbynature #inspiredbynature_ #florals #myfloralhome #floralhome #preraphaelite #mykitchenstyle
We were cutting our Strawberry Thief fabric today and the sunlight hit it perfectly, we couldn’t resist a picture 🌿 All our licensed William Morris designs are printed in the United Kingdom, and we sell it by the half metre 🪡 If you’re in the UK and would like a sample, just send us a message! 💌 
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisdesign #design #strawberrythief #preraphaelite #cottonfabric #upholsteryfabric #curtainfabric #fabrics
A close up of our beautiful licensed William Morris Trellis 😍 Isn't it such a timeless design, it was first designed in 1864, inspired by the rose trellis in Morris's garden at beautiful Red House 🌿 It was the first wallpaper Morris designed, along with Daisy and Fruit. 
Because the three designs were produced using a hand printing process, each colour needed a separate block and for the three designs it was 12 blocks each so was a long and expensive process. Therefore, they were all put on hold until the early 1870s when Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & co. had enough money to finance the designs 🎨We love the Trellis design, currently our tea towel is hanging over the cooker - we always wonder if Morris could ever have foreseen that his design in 1864 would be so well loved all these years later? 🤍
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorriswallpaper #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisdesigns #trellis #redhouse #philipwebb #teatowelsofinstagram #teatowel #preraphaelite #preraphaelites #independantbusiness #timelessdesign
William Morris designs are inspired by nature, so we love to see them in nature! 🌿 This beautiful Pimpernel Cream design was first designed by Morris in 1876 and is in our medium tote, we have lots of sizes for every occasion! 🤍
•
•
•
#williammorris #myfloralstyle  #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #springflowers #fabricshop #brotherrabbit #preraphaelite #totebag
What’s your favourite thing to make out of our licensed William Morris fabric? 🌿it’s always incredible to see what you create 🧵🪡
•
•
•
#williammorris #fabric #fabricdesign #kitchendecor #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabric #morris #kitchenaccessories #strawberrythief #inspiredbynature #inspiredbynature_ #florals #myfloralhome #floralhome #kitchenaccessory #preraphaelite #mykitchenmyhappyplace #mykitchenstyle #floralmagic
Did you know we have matching  kitchen accessories in a range of licensed Morris designs? 🌿 Perfect for pressies or treating yourself to bring a little Morris floral magic into your kitchen 🤍✨
•
•
•
#williammorris #kitchendesign #kitchendecor #kitchensofinstagram #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabric #morris #kitchenaccessories #ovengloves #ovenglove #strawberrythief #inspiredbynature #inspiredbynature_ #florals #myfloralhome #floralhome #kitchenaccessory #preraphaelite #mykitchenmyhappyplace #mykitchenstyle #floralmagic