Anarchy and Beauty: William Morris and His Legacy 1860-1960

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful and believe to be beautiful” 

William Morris (1880)

I just managed to catch this exhibition at The National Portrait Gallery the day before it ended on the 11th January.  I knew little about William Morris before I visited. Like most people I’m familiar with his very recognisable prints and designs and if I’m honest that was my main reason for visiting the exhibition. What I didn’t know was what a hugely important man he was in the development of the arts and crafts movement, and his role as a social activist.

Morris believed that life and work should go together and this became a major theme of his work.  I love this idea of productive creativity being a combination of work life, home life and social life.  He demonstrated this belief by bringing together arts and crafts friends as together they decorated and created The Red House, his home in Bexleyheath.  He created camaraderie and joyfulness in labour. What an inspiring way to work. I’m so interested to find out more about William Morris that I’m now planning a visit to The William Morris Gallery in East London.

“What business have we with art at all unless we can share it”

William Morris (1883)

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