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5 things you didn’t know about William Morris

11th March 2019

There’s so much to know about William Morris; in his sixty two years, he managed to achieve so much and leave such a legacy. It’s impossible to summarise it all in one blog; artist, designer, poet, writer, explorer, the list goes on. But did you know these things about Morris…

1. His nickname was Topsy. This was because of his hair that they thought was reminiscent of a characters in Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

2. Morris is well known for being a socialist. He famously said, “…I do not want art for a few; any more than education for a few; or freedom for a few… ” and by the end of there 1870s, Morris was very involved in political activism. In 1883, he joined H.M. Hyndman’s Socialist League. He didn’t want to unify all the socialist groups within England as Hyndman wanted to. He therefore helped to form the new Socialist League – even becoming the editor of its journal. In 1885, he was actually arrested for disorderly conduct during a socialist demonstration (he was later discharged.)

3. If you take a look through Morris’ designs, you’ll note that his main influence for designs was nature. Taking elements of nature from animals in Strawberry Thief and Brother Rabbit to flowers in Lily and plants and trees like in Willow Bough. He loved taking walks in the countryside by his home and it was a huge point of inspiration for him

4. Along with all his other achievements, did you know William Morris set up his own printing press? The Kelmscott Press was set up as another of Morris’s attempts to keep a traditional art form going in the face of industrialisation. The art of the books you can see that he printed were stunning; he really wanted everything from the font to the details to reflect the art of the words. In 1891, Morris rented a cottage near Kelmscott House where he would set up three printing presses. He designed and manufactured editions of over 50 books – printing over 18,000 volumes from those three presses. The authors of these included his own work and those of Keats, Shelley, Tennyson, Coleridge, Swinburne and Rossetti. These were works he loved and was inspired by.

5. In 1860, Morris and his wife Jane moved into their home Red House. The architect on the project was friend Philip Webb who worked with Morris on his dream home. They spent the following two years decorating the home to their taste, in doing so they enlisted help from their friends on the artistic scene. The result was a stunning showcase of design; murals on the walls, hand embroidered fabrics and details that would have rivalled even the most decadent of homes. The ‘joy in collective labour’ that occurred during this time, coupled with the fact Morris was unhappy that there was nothing on the market that he could buy that he felt was beautiful enough to be in his home was the prompt for The Firm. In 1861, Morris and his artistic friends decided to create their own interiors business. All had varied skills and so they wanted to make it a joy in their skills and passions coming together to create stunning interior furnishings for peoples homes. Of course – it would also be rebelling against industrialisation at the time by using skilled craftsmen. ‘The Firm’ as it was lovingly referred to was actually called Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. and when it was disbanded, became Morris & Co. – Morris’s legacy.

It was so hard for us to pair this down to only five facts! There was so much for us to choose from to talk about within this blog. But, if you’re interested in learning more about Morris, please make sure you read all our other blogs!

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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 🌙
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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! ☁️
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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! 🤍
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A few of our licensed William Morris designs all hanging out, aren’t they iconic! It’s amazing that you can see a Morris print and instantly know it’s his design 🌿
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Hands up if you’re a Golden Lily fan 🙋‍♀️ Our licensed William Morris design tea towels make excellent Christmas gifts if you’re writing your Christmas list!🎄 
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Always brightening up the kitchen; Willow Bough 🌿 What a special design ✨
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“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life” - William Morris. Some days, for us, that means decorating our tables with napkin bows and settling down for a slice of cake! 🧁
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Fabric stack of floral dreams 💭
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We'd say Morris more than succeeded, with timeless designs and words, it shows true beauty and art will never age 🌿 Morris wrote this quote in "The Well At The World's End: Volume I." Have you ever read much of his poetry or writing? ✍️
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A little fabric stack full of William Morris floral magic 🌿
Is anyone else a little excited that it's only 100 days until Christmas... or is it too soon to talk about? We're quite excited for Christmas crafts, food and films! ☺️ We wonder what your favourite Morris design is? Does it change based on season? 🎄 (it's far too early for this emoji but we're excited and can't help it, sorry.)
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Important conversation of the day at Laura's Beau HQ: who fancies a crumble and which is your favourite flavour? 🍎 Apple seems popular, so does rhubarb ☀️ One thing we can agree on is that we're all going to be baking them tonight - best get our fave oven gloves out! 👩‍🍳 These are our licensed William Morris Eyebright double oven gloves, isn't it such a beautiful pattern 🤍
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We were cutting our Strawberry Thief fabric today and the sunlight hit it perfectly, we couldn’t resist a picture 🌿 All our licensed William Morris designs are printed in the United Kingdom, and we sell it by the half metre 🪡 If you’re in the UK and would like a sample, just send us a message! 💌 
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#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisdesign #design #strawberrythief #preraphaelite #cottonfabric #upholsteryfabric #curtainfabric #fabrics
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Because the three designs were produced using a hand printing process, each colour needed a separate block and for the three designs it was 12 blocks each so was a long and expensive process. Therefore, they were all put on hold until the early 1870s when Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & co. had enough money to finance the designs 🎨We love the Trellis design, currently our tea towel is hanging over the cooker - we always wonder if Morris could ever have foreseen that his design in 1864 would be so well loved all these years later? 🤍
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What’s your favourite thing to make out of our licensed William Morris fabric? 🌿it’s always incredible to see what you create 🧵🪡
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Did you know we have matching  kitchen accessories in a range of licensed Morris designs? 🌿 Perfect for pressies or treating yourself to bring a little Morris floral magic into your kitchen 🤍✨
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