William Morris in 2019

18th April 2019

William Morris, born in 1834, remains a famous British textile designer, artist writer, poet and social activist; amongst other things. He remains one of the best known artists and designers; his art has remained, transcending years to still be as relevant and beautiful today as it was when he first produced it.

Using traditional methods of production, Morris wanted to move away from the industrialisation that was occurring a the time and back towards more traditional methods of production by talented craftsmen. For example, Strawberry Thief was produced at Merton Abbey using an Indigo Dye Technique. This took days to complete and was a complicated system using an Indigo Vat and Mordants – you can read more about that in this blog.

Today, you will see William Morris designs in indie cafes, bars and restaurants around the UK and further afield – his designs are now popular around the world in Japan. We have an exclusive retailer in Japan and still wonder what Morris would think that his designs are loved world-wide so long after they were first created. Lots of his inspiration came from his garden; Strawberry Thief in particular popular because it was inspired by the Thrushes stealing his strawberries from under the fruit net at his home, Red House (he watched this from on the privy!)

Today, Marc Jacobs has featured his prints, H&M has had an entire collection featuring his designs and quotes from his poetry. You can’t walk down the high street without seeing either an authentic print or one ‘inspired’ by a Morris print. It’s remarkable to think the utter influence he holds even now. It feels like in 2019 more than ever, his popularity is increasing – either by people picking up on a wallpaper and asking about it or researching more into the designs they see and like and enquiring more into it. That’s the great thing about today’s consumer – we ask questions more than ever before and are encouraged to look more into where and how our products are made. That leads them to discover more about Morris himself. Please remember that if you ever want to read about how our products are made and our sustainability pledge, we provide full transparency in this blog.

His art is still featured in world famous galleries such as the Victoria & Albert in London and also the Tate. Featured in many exhibitions about himself but also those of the Pre-Raphaelites and the Arts & Crafts movement – in which he was a huge part of and incredibly influential.

You’ll probably also have heard his most famous quote, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” This has inspired the work of artists and interior designers for hundreds of years!

There’s so many parts of Morris’s legacy that have lived on, each interesting in their own right. Whilst of course, we focus and appreciate his designs in particular, there is so much to read and learn about Morris – make sure to read more on our blog to learn more about him and the other influential members of the Brotherhood, Firm and his family.