William Morris Quotes (Author of The Wood Beyond the World)
William Morris: Useful Beauty in the Home
By the word pattern-design, of which I have undertaken to speak to you to-night, I mean the ornamentation of a surface by work that is not imitative or historical, at any rate not principally or essentially so. Such work is often not literally flat, for it may be carving or moulded work in plaster or pottery; but whatever material relief it may have is given to it for the sake of beauty and richness, and not for the sake of imitation, or to tell a fact directly; so that people have called this art ornamental art, though indeed all real art is ornamental.
William Morris , one of the most versatile and influential men of his age, was the last of the major English romantics and a leading champion and promoter of revolutionary ideas as poet, critic, artist, designer, manufacturer, and socialist. Born at Walthamstow, Essex, on March 24, , William Morris was the eldest son of a bill and discount broker with wealth and status approaching those of a private banker. Nature and reading were the passions of William's childhood, and the novels of Walter Scott inspired him with an abiding love of the Middle Ages. Originally intended for holy orders , Morris decided to take up the "useful trade" of architect after reading Thomas Carlyle and John Ruskin , and he was apprenticed to G. Street, who had a considerable ecclesiastical practice, in But Burne-Jones introduced him to the group of artists known as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and by the end of the year Dante Gabriel Rossetti had advised him to become a painter, which he did.
During his career, William Morris produced over 50 wallpapers. Remember that a pattern is either right or wrong. It cannot be forgiven for blundering, as a picture may be which has otherwise great qualities in it. It is with a pattern as with a fortress, it is no stronger than its weakest point. The success of Morris's wallpaper designs relies on his well-practiced and close observation of nature.
Block-printing a William Morris wallpaper design
William Morris is best known these days as a designer of sumptuous patterns for textiles and wallpaper, but he was so much more than that. Also known as a writer and poet, translator, social activist, printer and dyer, Morris originally trained as an architect and had early ambitions to become a painter. His patterns for textiles and wallpaper were revolutionary at the time, and quite at odds with the fashion for illusion and exaggeration. They were distinctive for their soft, flat colours, their stylised natural forms, their symmetry and their sense of order. In fact, the structure of the design was a fundamental for him.
Don't copy any style at all, but make your own; yet you must study the history of our art His designs are based on natural forms - many of which are flowers. Of the nearly designs which are attrubuted to him there are very few which do not feature flowers, leaves, trees or plants. He influenced a number of other important designers such as Charles F. Voysey William Morris, as a writer, designer and socialist had a vast range of interests see Wikipedia entry for a quick overview but I'm interested in how William Morris developed his flower designs and this post will focus on that - and also include other interesting tidbits. Sources I'm using for this post and of further information include: " The Flowers of William Morris " by Derek Baker published for the centennial of Morris's death in
He was a major contributor to the revival of traditional British textile arts and methods of production. His literary contributions helped to establish the modern fantasy genre, while he played a significant role propagating the early socialist movement in Britain. Morris was born in Walthamstow , Essex to a wealthy middle-class family. He came under the strong influence of medievalism while studying Classics at Oxford University , there joining the Birmingham Set. The firm profoundly influenced interior decoration throughout the Victorian period , with Morris designing tapestries, wallpaper, fabrics, furniture, and stained glass windows.