20 September 2012

The Late William Morris

Jack Walsdorf, the consummate lifelong collector of Morris books and materials, has kindly shared with us his hard-to-find page from The October 7th, 1896 issue of The Sketch. As many of you will have spotted, this issue was published a mere four days after Morris's death; the page in question is an obituary.

The text itself is quite keenly observed, and sympathetically written. It declares Morris "primarily a poet", then focuses on his other achievements: 
What Ruskin preached in the abstract Morris endeavoured to carry out with immense practicality, now designing wall-papers, now furniture, and latterly reconstructing a considerable portion of the book-world through his Kelmscott Press. . . . To him, next to Mr. Ruskin, is it due that an aesthetic sense pervades the homes even of the poorest to-day.
As a fitting ending, the author then quotes a contemporary review, by Andrew Lang, of a collected edition of Morris's works: "His place in English life and literature is unique as it is honourable. He has done what he desired to to—he has made vast additions to simple and stainless pleasures."

The overall layout of the page can be seen at the top of the post; readable versions of the text are below. Click to see more:

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