FAQs

Your Cart

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

William Morris: Birthday

24th March 2020

William Morris: Birthday Edition blog! Born on this day in 1834, there are very few artists that have had the impact, both for art and socialism, than William Morris. His contribution to British arts and design remains huge. His legacy spans not just design but also, literature, poetry, and a socialist legacy which really changed a lot about society at the time.

Today, you’ll have seen his designs in multiple places, from the walls of indie cafes to the catwalk with Marc Jacobs and H&M. We even went into Ikea the other day and his Willow Bough fabric was on the wall of one of the set ups! Today on the anniversary of his birth, we’re taking a look at the man behind the legacy.

Early life

Born in Walthamstow, Morris was educated at Oxford. Initially training as an architect, he went on to pursue his interest in the arts. Highly influenced by some of they key players in the Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood, including Rossetti, he became more influenced within the movement and arts in general.

Not only in textile design, Morris also worked in a number of crafts, including stained glass. Morris & Co. (Morris’s company) was commissioned for so many of the stained glass in stunning churches around England and other influential buildings such as St. James’s Palace in London.

Personal Life

In his personal life, he married Jane Burden in 1859. She was a very popular Pre-Raphaelite model, an unconventional beauty, you’ll have seen her in many of the Brotherhood’s work. This includes Morris’s La Belle Iseult and many of Rossetti’s pieces. One of Rossetti’s best known works Proserpine, portrays Roman goddess as the Empress of Hades following an abduction by Pluto.

She was condemned to be his wife – which, has been over the years alledged to be an allegory for Jane’s unhappy marriage with Morris. Indeed on Rossetti’s painting La Pia de’Tolomei, Rossetti left a Latin inscription. This translates to, “Famous for her poet husband, and famous for her face, may my picture add to her fame.” Of course the model within this work was Jane Burden.

Back to her relationship with Morris – they met in 1857 when she visited the Drury Lane Theatre Company in Oxford with her sister Elizabeth. It was actually Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti who noticed her and asked if she would sit and model for them. She initially didn’t turn up and only when she bumped into Edward Burne-Jones again that she agreed. This was a turning point in her life; not only because she met her husband and lover (Rossetti.) But also, because it meant she’s memorialised forever in some of histories most famous art.

Red House

When Morris bought Red House, it was to become his families haven in the countryside. Located in rural Kent, Bexleyheath, he commissioned lifelong friend Philip Webb to build the house. If you’re lucky enough to be able to visit Red House, you’ll see what a beautiful job Webb did here. Dante Gabriel Rossetti wrote that it was, “more of a poem than a house.”

It was a unique design – an L shape with two stories and a high pitched roof of red tile. Interestingly, the servant’s quarters were larger than contemporary buildings. This is a clear and early indication of both Webb and Morris and their ideas regarding working class conditions and their socialist beliefs.

When furnishing the house, Morris couldn’t find home furnishings that he felt fit the house, it was this thought that led to the creation of ‘The Firm’ with his talented artistic friends, this company of course was, Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. which after a few years dissolved and Morris set up Morris & Co. The Firm produced a range of domestic furniture and wallpaper.

Morris & Co.

His work at Morris & Co. is perhaps how his legacy remains most, which is interesting since during his life he was best known as a poet. But during his years leading the company, he created beautiful textiles, created jobs that were forward thinking at the time in terms of how fair they were.

He opened Merton Abbey where he printed his own fabric in traditional methods. He back against Industrialisation, learning and perfecting the Indigo Dye Technique. J.W. Mackail wrote Morris became, “a manufacturer not because he wished to make money, but because he wished to make the things he manufactured.”

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 story spans so much. We’re forever grateful for the arts that he created such beautiful work.

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.

Want to keep up with us on social media? We’ve love to have you! Remember to read through our other blogs on Morris if you have time! There’s way too much to fit into one blog…

Related Articles

Post Title

William Morris; His Life and Work

We’ve done a few blogs about William Morris now and a roundup of his life, but since we post weekly blogs, we thought it was...

Post Title

Lindisfarne Castle, Holy Island

On a recent visit to Northumbria I visited Holy Island, this beautiful Island which you enter on a causeway from the mainland has a magical...

Post Title

Laura’s Beau’s Bags!

Our bags are perfect for everyday use, for nipping to the shops and needing something to carry your items home in, or for keeping rolled...

A William Morris fabric stack 😍 What would you make from our licensed William Morris floral fabrics? 🪡🧵
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabrics #fabric #fabricdestashuk #fabricstack #upholsteryfabric #curtainfabric
We hope you’re having a lovely Easter 🐣 Choccy treats galore with some beautiful Morris florals, what more could we want! 🌷🤍
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabrics #williammorrisfabric #floraldesign #tablescapestyling #upholsteryfabric #curtainfabric #preraphaelite #floral
Morris fan? There’s 15% off our entire collection of licensed William Morris fabrics and products, this Easter weekend only! 🐣 Use code: EASTER15 at checkout, on our website only, until Monday at midnight 🌙 Enjoy this Easter treat from us! 🤍
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisdesign #onlinefabric #onlinefabrics #preraphaelite #upholsteryfabric #curtainfabric #floraldesign
We love all the beautiful spring florals this time of year 🌷 We’ve also not been able to resist starting early on the Easter treats! 🐣
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabrics #willowbough #tablescape #tablescapes #eastertablesetting #upholsteryfabric #upholsteryfabrics #curtainfabrics #eastertableideas
Introducing Daisy, our latest William Morris licensed design 🌿 Daisy was the second wallpaper William Morris designed, but the first to be produced in 1864, so it remains a special design to every Morris fan ✨ It must have been a favourite of Morris himself, as embroideries of Daisy were used to decorate at the stunning Red House, Morris's home in Bexleyheath. 
We hope you love Daisy as much as we do! Available now on our website, in a limited range of products, fabric is coming soon! ☺️
-
-
-
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabric#onlinefabricstore #preraphaelite #williammorrisdesign#upholsteryfabric #curtainfabric #daisy
A fabric stack of William Morris floral dreams 🤍
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabrics #floralfabrics #onlinefabrics #onlinefabricshop #upholsteryfabric #upholsteryfabrics #curtainfabric #curtainfabrics #strawberrythief #fabricstack
Spring floral ready with our William Morris Willow Bough table setting 🌿 Do your weekend plans also revolve around tea/coffee and baked goods? 🤍
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #willowbough #springfloral #preraphaelite #spring #florals #floralfabric #tablescape #onlinefabric #onlinefabricstore #curtainfabric #upholsteryfabric
Monday done right, laying the table with our beautiful licensed William Morris Willow Bough green tablecloth, completed with a @bettys treat 🥰 
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisdesign #willowbough #tablescape #tablescapes #tablescapestyling #bettys #preraphaelite #preraphaelites #tablecloth #floraltable #onlinefabric #onlinefabrics
A little fabric stack of our William Morris florals, waiting to be crafted into a project 🪡 Can you name them all from the little peak? 🌿 
All our fabrics are printed in the UK and are licensed William Morris designs, printed both size and colour wise to our own specification ✨ If you’d like a sample, just send us a message 📬
•
•
•
#williammorris #morris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabricstash #fabricstack #morrisfabric #preraphaelite #floralfabric #upholsteryfabric #curtainfabric #onlinefabricshop #onlinefabricshopping
Showcasing our licensed William Morris Lily fabric, it’s so light and bright it’s making us excited for Spring! 🌿
Designed by William Morris in 1874, it incorporates the willow background with lilies and wild flowers ✨ The design must have been well loved by Morris himself- it was the wallpaper he used to decorate his bedroom at Kelmscott Manor, his home in Lechlade, Gloucestershire 🌿
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabrics #floralfabric #lily #onlinefabricstore #onlinefabrics #onlinefabric #independentbusiness #preraphaelite
Thrilled with our reupholstered chair, brought back to life with our heavyweight William Morris Willow Bough Green 🌿 It’s amazing what a pop of colour and a floral will do to a room 🤍 If you fancy learning how we did this upcycle, we’ll write a blog on it ☺️ 
& if you’re in the UK and would like a sample of any of our fabrics, please let us know 📮
•
•
•
#williammorris #morris #williammorrisfabric #morrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #willowbough #reupholstery #reupholstered #upholsteryfabric #upcycledfurniture
The different weights of fabric 🧵 We have four weights of fabrics; cotton, heavyweight, drill and pvc, all work well for different projects. For a free sample, please feel free to message us and we’ll get them sent out to you 📮
✨ For our 100% cotton, it’s great for quilting, dress making and more, our lightest weight of cotton
✨ Our heavyweight cotton is perfect for curtains and light upholstery, a heavier fabric than our 100% cotton 
✨ Our drill cotton fabric is our heaviest weave fabric, suitable for light upholstery 
✨ Our PVC is our pvc/oilcloth coated cotton fabric, brilliant as a table covering, it’s sold by the half metre and as it won’t fray, is great to put straight on the table 🌿

The cotton, heavyweight and drill cotton are all 152cm wide and the pvc fabric is 140cm wide. All are sold by the half metre 📏
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabrics #morrisfabric #goldenlily #onlinefabric #upholsteryfabric #curtainfabrics #quiltingfabric
In January when the Christmas sparkles come down, we’ve got to bring out even more Morris florals to make sure the house still feels sparkly and beautiful ✨ if you’re also looking to revamp any of the home and looking for a licensed William Morris design for a pop of colour, get in touch for any samples so you can choose which works in your home 🤍
•
•
•
#williammorris #morris #strawberrythief #preraphaelite #onlinefabric #onlinefabricstore #fabrics #williammorrisfabric
Our blue Strawberry Thief oven gloves are back in stock, just in time for Christmas! 🎄 will you be gifting some Morris floral magic this year? Or hope to be receiving some! 🎁 Our matching sets of kitchenware and tableware are very popular this time of year, remember if you’re sending direct to your loved one, you can select for the items to be gift wrapped at checkout on our website! 🌟
•
•
•
#williammorris #strawberrythief #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisdesigns #ovengloves #christmasgiftsideas #kitchenware #tablescape
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