FAQs

Your Cart

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

Emery Walker, William Morris & The Kelmscott Press

27th November 2017

Producing William Morris designs and being such incredibly big fans as we are of William Morris, it’s not surprising that we spend quite a bit of time reading about his life, work and friends. One person we wanted to learn more about was Sir Emery Walker​.

Born in 1851, Emery Walker was born in Paddington, London. From a contrasting background to Morris’ more affluent upbringing, Walker was born the son of a coach builder, growing up in a working class family, he was forced to leave school aged 13 so he could start earning and contributing to the family’s finances. Despite this, Walker believed wholeheartedly in self-education which we can see truly held high value for Walker as later in life his writings were read by audiences that far out did his own education and his intellect was appreciated by them. He also had associations with a few organisations we’ve written about multiple times on our blogs – the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and the Society of Antiquaries.

After his experience as an apprentice draper that he didn’t care for, in 1873, he joined the Typographic Etching Company based in Chiswick. The company produced blocks which were used in the printing process for illustrations and was done using photographic negatives. After learning his trade, in 1886, Walker set up his own company which became well known for their expertise in photogravure. Photogravure is an intaglio printmaking which uses a copper plate, coated with a light sensitive gelatine tissue – exposed to a film positive which is then etched. The results are a high quality print which reproduces the detail of a photograph. Walker used the technique to reproduce art, photographs and book illustrations – which infact helped revolutionise the book making industry.

 So where’s the link to Morris?

It was actually Walker that was a silent partner in the Kelmscott Press, he offered him a partnership with the company due to Walter’s expertise. May Morris spoke about the lecture Walker gave to the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society in 1888 as a ‘eureka’ moment for Morris. Using the Jenson as a basic (a 15th Century Venetian printer called Nicolas Jenson who printed early books) he planned to draw on this and create his own typeface which would help him product ‘The Ideal Book.’ From here, the Kelmscott Press began two years later in 1890, by his own admission Morris wrote, “I was not much of a typographer before Mr Walker took me in hand.” It’s reported that Walter refused the offer to be a partner in the Press as, he wrote, “I had refused at the outset to be his partner, having some sense of proportion,” Morris said “I shall want to do everything my own way” so whether it was Walker’s self deprecating view of himself or if it was because he knew Morris would have been a hard person to work with if everything was his own way, we don’t know. Either way, Walter played an incredibly large part in the Kelmscott Press with the two talking most days and Morris often receiving advice from Walter.

As we’ve written before in our blogs specifically on the Kelmscott Press, that as with many parts of 19th century life, Morris was determined to not allow mass production and industrialisation to completely overtake quality craftsmanship. Though during this time, there was an increased level of literacy and so the demand for books increased in turn, however the high print runs that were demanding meant the reproduction standards were falling. Careless inking and poor paper meant the quality was low. Morris set out to change this.

Emery Walker’s home still stands overlooking the Thames at 7 Hammersmith Terrace, Morris’ neighbour and close friend, the house is a trove of Morris treasures so be sure to visit!

Related Articles

Post Title

William Morris Strawberry Thief

The strawberry thief design has long been a favourite of mine. I love the story of how William Morris was inspired to produce the design...

Post Title

Henry Currey and Pump Room, Buxton

  Henry Currey (1820–1900) was an eminent architect and surveyor who worked  on many landmark  buildings in London and many important projects for the William...

Post Title

Leeds Market Exterior

  Leeds Market stands upon a historic site where a market has been held for centuries.  The present market is a collection of ornate Victorian...

🌷 William Morris month day 30 🌷 As we come near the end of Morris month, we’re celebrating with a fabric stack, full of beautiful licensed designs, which is your fave? 🌿 “Remember that a pattern is either right or wrong. It cannot be forgiven for blundering, as a picture may be which has otherwise great qualities in it. It is with a pattern as with a fortress, it is no stronger than its weakest point.”- William Morris 🤍 
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabric #floralfabric #floralfabrics #fabricstack #fabricstash #fabricstore #onlinefabrics #ukfabricsonline #independantbusiness
🐭 William Morris month day 29 🐭 We’ve been loving William Morris month to celebrate Morris’s birthday month, spreading his floral magic by posting everyday - have you discovered a new favourite design of his this month? 🌿 We absolutely love these little mice and the banner by @mini_and_bob - aren’t they so lovely! 🐭🤍
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabrics #fabric #fabriccrafts #craftersgonnacraft #crafting #williammorrisprint #strawberrythief #willowbough #shopsmall #independantbusiness #ukbusiness
🌷William Morris Month Day 28🌷 Happy Easter weekend everyone! 🐥 We hope everyone has a lovely long bank holiday 🌿 We’re already planning some beautiful William Morris tablescapes, nothing too complex, all you need is some Morris florals, some flowers and lots of chocolate! 🐰
•
•
•
#wiliammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabric #fabrics #eastertable #eastertable #easterstyling #preraphaelite #preraphaelites #floraltable #preraphaelitebrotherhood #victoriandesign
🌷 William Morris Month Day 26 🌷 Absolutely loving a spring time floral on the table right now, especially when paired with an Easter craft or two! 🤍
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabrics #williammorrisfabric #morris #fabric #fabriccraft #fabrics #crafting #independantbusiness #indiebusiness #preraphaelite
🌿 William Morris Month Day 25 🌿 Florals on florals on florals; all of the William Morris florals just look so beautiful together and, as Morris said himself, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful” 🌷
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabrics #williammorrisfabric #morrisdesign #quoteoftheday #florals #modernflorals #teatowels #preraphaelitebrotherhood #preraphaelites
🐥 William Morris Month Day 23 🐥 Loving the sunshine this week for springtime 🌿 We absolutely love Willow Bough on the table in the sunshine paired with spring blooms 🌷
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrismonth #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabric #willowbough #easter #eastertables
🌷 William Morris Month Day 22🌷 A themed table is always our favourite, we’ve been loving setting the table lately with an Easter theme- especially when it means we can eat the eggs after! 🐣✨ 
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrismonth #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #preraphaelite #eastertables #eastereggs #eastertablescape #springflorals
🌿 William Morris Day 20 🌿 William Morris fact of the day; did you know he 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” and 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- it’s well worth a Google! 🌷
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #preraphaelite #preraphaelites #kelmscottpress #morris #williammorrismonth #williammorrisdesign #victorian #victorianart #victorians
🌷 William Morris Month Day 19🌷 Happy first day of spring everyone! 🪴 We celebrated in our favourite way; coffee and cake of course! 🍰 Now we love florals all year round of course, but especially love adding in even more this time of year to reflect the blooms in the garden 🌷 What’s your favourite Morris design this time of year? 🌿
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #williammorrismonth #spring #spring2024 #preraphaelite #florals #floralfabric #springflorals #springflowers
📝 William Morris Month Day 18 📝 Did you know that as well as being an incredible designer, William Morris was also a brilliant writer and poet; have you read any of his writing? What’s your favourite quote? 🌷🌿
•
•
•
#williammorrismonth #williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #morris #strawberrythief #quotesaboutlife #quotestoliveby #quotes
☀️ William Morris Month Day 17 ☀️ The sunshine today has made us feel so excited for spring, it’s almost officially here! 🪴 This William Morris bunting is the dreamiest backdrop to all the spring summer days in the garden, it’s by @ellejoycreations - isn’t it fabulous!🌷
•
•
•
#spring #williammorrismonth #williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabric #fabricstash #smallbusinessuk #printedintheuk #etsyshop
🐰 William Morris Month Day 16 🐰 A Sunday spent Easter decorating, these cute little bunnies were a craft a few years back and they are always a firm favourite to bring out this time of year to hang on our Easter tree 🐥 Have you started decorating or eating eggs yet? 🐣
•
•
•
#williammorrismonth #williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #williammorrisprint #easter #easterdecor #eastercrafts #eastercrafting #fabriccraft #greatfabricdestashuk
🍓 William Morris Month Day 15 🍓 Absolutely can’t wait for the summer months to get our Strawberry Thief picnic basket and blanket back out- if you missed this craft we have a DIY on our website blog, along with a lot of other craft ideas and how-to blogs ☺️
•
•
•
#williammorrismonth #williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #picnicbasket #craftideas #craftidea #fabriccraft #fabricstore #fabricshoppingonline #fabricstash
🍓 William Morris Month Day 14 🍓 Strawberry Thief was inspired by William Morris’s watching the thrushes under the strawberry nets at the stunning @kelmscottmanor 🌿 May Morris conjured up this scene when speaking of the design, “You can imagine my Father going out in the early morning and watching the rascally thrushes at work on the fruit beds and telling the fanned who growls ‘I’d like to wring their necks!’ that no bird in the garden must be touched. There were certainly more birds than strawberries in spite of attempts at protection. And the walls of the little dining-room are hung with this note of the June garden and the little lords of it.” 🍓 What a lovely insight into the Morris family life! 🥰
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrismonth #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabric #strawberrythief #floraldesign #maymorris