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Born on this day: William Morris

24th March 2018

Born on this day in 1834, there’s few artists that have had the same impact of William Morris in terms of his contribution to British arts and design. With a legacy spanning from literature and poetry to his influence on the Arts & Crafts movement and of course, his beautiful designs. Today, you might have seen his designs on the catwalks from Marc Jacobs shows to Topshop and his Morris & Co. wallpaper can be seen all over in hip cafes!

Whilst we blog about Morris and his achievements year round, today more than any other day it’s important to take the time to remember the man behind his legacy.

Born in Walthamstow, Morris was educated at Oxford and originally trained as an architect, however he felt unfulfilled in this job and his interest in the arts soon took over and he was highly influenced by some of the big names in the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood – including Rossetti – and became more involved in the arts. Together, they created art and designs that have stood the test of time and are still influencing artists today which is incredible! In fact, you may have seen some of their work without even knowing as Morris & Co. (Morris’ company) were commissioned for so many of the stain glass windows in beautiful churches around England and influential buildings such as St. James’ Palace in London.

Marrying to Jane Burden in 1859, she was a Pre-Raphaelite model – an unconventional beauty, she’s one you can spot in many of the men’s work. They met in 1857 when she visited the Drury Lane Theatre Company in Oxford with her sister Elizabeth. It was actually initially Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti who noticed her, sat in the gallery below and asked her if she’d like to model for them. She was reluctant and refused – she didn’t know either of them and was wary of the two men. She even didn’t show up to her meeting with Rossetti who wanted to paint her for his mural. It was only after she bumped into Edward Burne-Jones by chance that she agreed. She wouldn’t know it yet, but she’d just agreed to be the face many would come to see as the face of the Pre-Raphaelite movement as she was the model many of the artists (especially Rossetti’s) used in their work, therefore she’s seen in many of the lasting pieces.

When he bought Red House, it was to be his families haven in the countryside, in what was at the time, in rural Kent in Bexleyheath. He commissioned his lifelong friend Philip Webb to build the house and if you visit (which we highly recommend!) then you’ll see what a marvellous job Webb did of creating the home Morris envisioned – a modern home which was ‘medieval in spirit.’ Furnishing the home himself, it was this process that led him to create his company; Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. Not being able to find furnishings that suited, he decided to create his own; the company produced a range of domestic furniture and wallpaper.

Influential as an interior designer, poet, writer, textile designer, translator and socialist activist. His life story is incredible and one that you wonder how he did it all in one lifetime! With adventures along the Seine and to Iceland, his life was much more than the designs, though he is remembered for them and their longevity!

We always keep one of his quotes in mind: “If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris.

We love it so much, we print it on some products!

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🌷 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 🤍 
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🐭 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! 🐭🤍
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🌷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! 🐰
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🌷 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! 🤍
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#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” 🌷
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🐥 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 🌷
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#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! 🐣✨ 
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#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! 🌷
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🌷 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? 🌿
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#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? 🌷🌿
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#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!🌷
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#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? 🐣
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#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 ☺️
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#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! 🥰
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