31 August 2008

Virginia Woolf's Freshwater to be Presented in New York on 19 November

On Wednesday, 19 November, the William Morris Society will join with other groups to hold the first American peformance of Virginia Woolf’s comedy, Freshwater, in New York. The play, a hilarious send-up of Woolf’s great-aunt, the famed photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, and her friends poet Alfred Tennyson, painter G. F. Watts, and actress Ellen Terry, was written for a private Bloomsbury theaterical party in 1931. It is presented in conjunction with the Grolier Club’s exhibition, This Perpetual Fight: Love and Loss in Virginia Woolf’s Intimate Circle (17 September–22 November 2008).

This reading is sponsored by the William Morris Society in the United States, the Grolier Club, American Friends of Arts and Crafts in Chipping Campden, the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms, and the Victorian Society in America.

Arthur Giron, the director, is a playwright and former head of the Graduate Playwriting Program at Carnegie Mellon University. A founding member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, the nation’s foremost play development organization, Giron had been called "One of our best contemporary dramatists" by critic Rosette La Mont. His latest play Emilie’s Voltaire won the Galileo Prize and will open in New York in 2009. The cast includes Liza Vann as Julia Margaret Cameron. A recipient of the Clarence Ross Fellowship from the American Theatre Wing, she has performed extensively in regional theatre. Her latest work is Good Ol’ Girls, which airs on PBS later this year.

This event is now sold out.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008
6 p. m.
The Grolier Club
47 East 60th Street
New York, NY

Click here for more information.

29 June 2008

William Morris Society Website Updated

We recently updated the William Morris Society website. You will find lists of Society events in the UK and US through the end of the year, the Summer 2008 William Morris Society in the US newsletter, corrected visitor information for Kelmscott Manor and Kelmscott House, and--perhaps most important--the full text of the Journal of William Morris Studies from 1963 through 2000. Soon to come: direct online ordering for publications, updated lists of Morris-related products and services, and improved images.

13 June 2008

Eminent Pre-Raphaelites Symposium at Birmingham, 21 June

This is late notice, but we have just learned of an event of outstanding interest. "Eminent Pre-Raphaleites: Rosseti, Holman Hunt, Millais, and Ruskin" a symposium sponsored by the Pre-Raphaelite Society and the School of Humanities, University of Birmingham, will take place on Saturday, 21 June, 9.30 a.m. - 5 p. m., at the Library Theatre, Birmingham Central Library. The speakers include Judith Bronkhurst, Stephen Wildman, Christopher Newall, Paul Barlow, and Simon Cooke. For more detials go the Pre-Raphaleite Society website, where a pdf with full detials and registration form may be downloaded.

24 May 2008

Advance News: Walter Crane in Manchester

The Whitworth Art Gallery at the University of Manchester will open a new display on 16 August 2008 entitled "Art and Labour’s Cause is One": Walter Crane and Manchester, 1880-1915. A close associate of William Morris, Crane was one of the most important, versatile, and radical artists of the nineteenth century—illustrator, painter, designer of decorative objects, wrier, and socialist. This exhibition explores the central role played by Manchester in Crane’s fusion of art, labor, and politics.
On 5 and 6 December the Whitworth Art Gallery hosts a conference, “Envisioning Utopia: British Art and Socialist Politics, 1870-1900,” to examine the dynamic between the urban and the pastoral in utopian visions of a socialist future and explore the role of visual art in formulating and articulating these political ideals. Keynote address Friday at 5.30 p. m. by Tim Barringer (Yale University). Speakers include Matthew Beaumont (Univeristy College London), Jo Briggs (Yale Center for British Art), Michael Hatt (Warwick University), Ruth Livesey (Royal Holloway College, University of London), Sarah Turner (Courtauld Institute), and Anna Vaninskaya (King’s College, Cambridge University).

For more information, email Morna O'Neil,waltercranearchive@gmail.com. This event is supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.

22 May 2008

William Morris Society Attains Tax-Exempt Status

It's not every day that one opens a letter from the Internal Revenue Service which begins: "We are pleased . . .." After much work and the help of two lawyers (one of them our member, David Lowden, who helped pro bono. Thanks, David!) the William Morris Society in the United States has been granted tax-exempt status under section 501 (c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code. This means that gifts (financial and in-kind) to the society and dues may be deducted from income tax up the amount allowed by law. It also allows the society to escape paying sales tax on the purchase of goods and services—such a printing—and, not to put too fine a point on it, gives us a certain pride and prestige. The change in status will reqiore additional accounting records, also a yearly filing with the IRS (the first one goes out next week), but the benefits will surely outweigh the chores. We of course will welcome any and all contributions, especially those directed towards the society's fellowship program.

01 May 2008

William Morris Society Visit to the Delaware Art Museum

Join us at the Delaware Art Museum for an afternoon of art and fellowship. Our visit begins at noon with a special group tour of the reinstallation of the largest Pre-Raphaelite collection outside of England. On view are more than 100 paintings, works on paper, books, photographs, and decorative objects. Lunch follows at 1 p. m. in the museum's cafe. Then stay for a lecture (2 p. m.), "Flora Symbolica: Floral Symbolism in the Pre-Raphaelites" by Debra N. Mancoff, noted art historian and the author of Flora Symbolica.
Museum admission and the $15 lecture fee are waived for members of the William Morris Society (you are responsible for paying for lunch).
Saturday, 17 May 2008
12 noon
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE
To reserve a place or for more information contact: Mark Samuels Lasner, (302) 831-3250.

29 April 2008

A Chance to See Some Rarely-Seen Pre-Raphaelite Art in London

For one week, from 23 May to 1 June, there is an unusual exhibition of Pre-Raphaelite art in London. The 53 works on view at Fulham Palace are drawn from the Cecil French Bequest, a group of paintings and drawings given to the borough of Fulham in 1953. A few of the paintings are usually on display at Leighton House, but this is an opportunity to see the whole collection, including  no fewer than  26 paintings and drawings by Sir Edward Burne-Jones (who lived in Fulham) and representative paintings by such late nineteenth and early twentieth century British artists as Lord Leighton, Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema, and George Frederick Watts. Two aspects of this exhibition strike us as odd. First, the admission proceeds benefit the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust–-a charity that seeks to "raise public awareness about the nature, symptoms and dangers of depression." A worthwhile cause, but is Pre-Raphaelite art the right art to promote it? Consider the subjects of some of the paintings on display--The Widow's Prayer (Leighton), The Wheel of Fortune (Burne-Jones, see image at left), Mariana in the South (Waterhouse). Beautiful images, but not always cheerful, to say the least. More surprisingly, the exhibition is on for far too short a period. The expense alone of moving the works to Fulham Palace would seem to justify a showing of some length--a month at least. Why not extend the exhibition into in June, when London is the center of the international art world, with major museum shows, antiques fairs, and auctions? Still, we should be grateful for even a brief chance to see such rarely available--and wonderful-- art.

27 April 2008

Burne-Jones Research Site

Birmingham Museums and Arts Gallery has the largest and most representative collection of works by the major nineteenth-century artist Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898), who was born and grew up in Birmingham. The collection is in every sense an international public resource with over 1200 works, 1138 of which are works on paper and related material. Its unique range and depth has provided the theme and impetus for the Burne-Jones Research Site. This demonstration project is the result of a three-year research project to catalogue the complete Burne-Jones collection of drawings, watercolours, prints, sketchbooks, paintings designs, applied art and archive at Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, led by Elisa Korb, a postgraduate doctoral student at the University of Birmingham. It sets out to expose and access this unique art collection to a world-wide audience. Nearly a third of the works have been photographed to date and the project led to the recent exhibition (and publicaiton), Hidden Burne-Jnes. The aim is to complete the digitisation of this collection in 2009, as part of the creation of a Pre-Raphaelite Online Resource Site.

26 April 2008

We are Not Alone: William Morris in the Blogosphere

Since inaugurating News from Anywhere we wondered what other blogs there might be which touch on William Morris, the Pre-Raphaleites, and the Arts and Crafts movement. A quick search in Google Blogs resulted in a plethora of references but only a relative handful of blogs primarily devoted to these subjects.
If you know of other blogs worth noting, please let us know.

25 April 2008

William Morris Lantern Slides Digitized

The University of London Computing Center is working with the William Morris Society to digigitize their unique collection of lantern slides. According to a post on the ULCC's da blog, "Digitising the slides will finally help to open up their access to a wider audience, who may then be able to help provide important information about the provenance and content of individual slides. It's suspected that one of the images may even be a unique portrait of William Morris's daughter, May Morris, and that lantern slide images of . . . Kelmscott House . . . may be the only surviving photographic depiction of the residence. . . . The slides were originally kept in a wooden box, seemingly adapted from cheddar cheese packaging (i.e. from the sizes of the labelling fitting the box as it stands, it seems that these were the original "Maypole" cheddar box dimensions); an artifact in itself that will be preserved as part of the William Morris Archive." In due course, a detailed case study of the project will appear on the ULCC website.

24 April 2008

A Morris Exhibition--and More--in New Zealand

From 14 March to 29 June 1008, Christchurch Art Gallery will be the host of Morris & Co. The World of William Morris, the largest exhibition of Morris & Co. furnishings ever seen in New Zealand. Morris & Co. features more than 100 pieces, including furniture, carpets, tapestries, wallpapers, embroideries and tiles. The exhibition, organized by the Art Gallery of South Australia and curated by Christopher Menz, is accompanied by lectures, performances, mechandise, and an auxillary display of local fine printing inspired by the Kelmscott Press.  William Morris and the Art of Everyday Life, a one-day conference convened by the Australasian Victorian Studies Association and the University of Otago, is scheduled for 10 May. This conference will explore the relationship between Morris and the art of everyday life--from the design of beautiful domestic interiors to his advocacy of a utopian socialism. Professor Florence Boos of the University of Iowa, distinguished Morris scholar and former president of the William Morris Society in the United States, is the keynote speaker.

From Puerto Rico to London

Two major Victorian paintings, Burne-Jones's The Sleep of Arthur in Avalon and Leighton's Flaming June (left), have traveled from Puerto Rico to London, where they will be on view at Tate Britain until February 2009.  "How did dozens of fabulous British works of art, most of them Pre-Raphaelites, end up in an obscure museum on a Caribbean island?" asks Alastair Sooke in an article published today in the Daily Telegraph. The answer is simple: they were acquired by "a far-sighted Puerto Rican industrialist, politician and philanthropist called Luis Antonio Ferré . . . In 1963, he bought Arthur in Avalon for 1,600 guineas at Christie's. In the same year, he also acquired Sir Frederic Leighton's voluptuous 1895 painting Flaming June." Ferré served as governor of Puerto Rico from 1969 to 1972. "He bought Arthur in Avalon and Flaming June as the crown jewels of a new museum in his home town of Ponce. The first stone of a stunning white modernist building, designed by celebrated American architect Edward Durell Stone, was placed in 1964, and the Museo de Arte de Ponce was officially inaugurated the following year. . . . Working on a limited budget, he targeted unfashionable pictures, and collected pieces representing every major school of Western art. 'The scholars and critics all called it kitsch,' he recalled in 1993, referring to his extensive collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings and drawings. 'Everyone thought I was crazy to buy them.'"

21 April 2008

"J. W. Waterhouse & Theatre"
Lecture by Peter Trippi

A reminder about "J. W. Waterhouse & Theatre," the lecture by Peter Trippi to take place on Tuesday, 22 April, at the Grolier Club in New York. This is the second in a series of events arranged by the William Morris Society and its partners, the American Friends of Chipping Campden, the Stockley Museum at Craftsman Farms, and the Victorian Society in America. Tickets are $12 for members of the William Morris Society, the Grolier Club, and the sponsoring organizations, $18 for others.
Tuesday, 22 April 2008
6 p. m., reception to follow
Grolier Club
47 East 60th Street, New York
For more details and to purchase a ticket, click here

Welcome to the William Morris Society Blog

Welcome to the William Morris Society Blog. Here you will find announcements of William Morris Society activities, news of members, notices of exhibitions, publications, and events, and comments on items of interest concerning the life and works of William Morris, his friends, associates, and followers. Suggestions for discussion and entries and comments from members of the Morris Society and others on matters relating to Morris, the Pre-Raphaelites, and the Morris Society are welcome. Please send communications to the society's webmaster, Mark Samuels Lasner.