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5 things you didn’t know about May Morris

30th June 2019

May Morris, daughter of William and Jane Morris, remains one of the most important figures of the Arts & Crafts movement. Unfortunately, her legacy and achievements continued to be overshadowed by those of her father. So, every so often, we like to dedicate a blog to her – our way of paying tribute to her legacy online. We’re not alone either, with exhibitions and articles focusing on – and celebrating – her work.

We thought in this blog, we’d give you five interesting facts you didn’t know about May.

  1. May was the most influential for her art embroidery. Along with her sister Jenny, she was taught by her mother and her work and expertise was in demand across the world. Growing up with her father and his friends, she was of course influenced and taught by some of the Victorian era’s most influential and celebrated artists. By 23, she took over the embroidery section of Morris & Co. – overseeing every new design.
  2. Her work was commissioned and exhibited in Arts & Crafts exhibitions in; the UK, Europe, Australia and America. Impressive in itself, but made especially so since this was the Victorian era and her work didn’t go global from a Tweet or Instagram it was reputation and the natural spreading of influence through word of mouth.
  3. “I’m a remarkable woman, always was, though none of you seemed to think so.” She wrote this in 1936 to George Bernard Shaw. The words may resonate with women around the world even today, and remains rather sadly true for May. Though her father (quite rightly!) has museums and more in his honour and memory and May is often overlooked when it comes to her contribution to decorative arts and the Arts & Crafts Movement.
  4. After William Morris died, May dedicated almost a decade editing the 24 volumes of his Collected Works. She worked hard to preserve his legacy to ensure his designs and writings stood the test of time. May also lectured on his life and in his will, safeguarded his and their families culturally significant possessions. Many of these were generously gifted to museums so that the Morris family legacies can live on.
  5. You may have heard of designs Honeysuckle and Horn Poppy that the firm produced. They’re sometimes assumed to be William Morris’s designs but are in fact, May’s work. Her inspiration did come from her father but the work was her own – so she is known to have taken this misconception as a huge compliment, though through the years she did correct the assumption.

There’s so much more to learn about May; you should really grab a coffee, settle in and give her a long Google, just like lots of the pioneers of the Arts & Crafts movement, Morris’s inner circle, friends and colleagues, she’s really fascinating.

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Bertie’s been loving Bridgerton and thought he’d pose with the wisteria wearing his Daisy cravat 😉
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When the audio accurately sums up how you feel about a design 🫶🏻 Beautiful Sweet Briar was first designed in 1912, we love the sweet little pink flowers in the climbing rose stems 🌹 This licensed Morris design is now back in stock, let us know if you’d like a sample! ✨
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Our William Morris Willow Bough green placemats are now back in stock! ✨ They’re a beautiful addition to the table for every meal time 🫶🏻
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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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🌿 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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🌷 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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🌿 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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📝 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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☀️ 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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🍓 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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