27 October 2010

New book: William Morris in the Twenty-First Century

Peter Lang has just published William Morris in the Twenty-First Century, an outstanding collection of essays edited by Rosie Miles and Phillippa Bennett and drawn from papers presented at the William Morris Society conference held in London in 2005.

The book contains essays from scholars and professionals researching and working in fields relevant to Morris’s diverse interests. The contributors offer a reappraisal of his achievements and influence in areas such as literature, art, architecture, politics, environ- mentalism, science and technology. The essays provide a comprehensive introduction for those new to Morris Studies whilst presenting a series of fresh perspectives for those already familiar with Morris’s work.

Phillippa Bennett is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Northampton. She is Honorary Secretary of the William Morris Society and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of William Morris Studies.. She has published a number of art- icles on William Morris and has a particular interest in his last romances and their relationship to his political and aesthetic ideals. Rosie Miles is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Wolverhampton. From 2001 to 2007 she was Editor of the Journal of William Morris Studies and she is now a member of the Editorial Advisory Board. She has published a number of articles on Morris’s poetry and the book arts.


  • Regenia Gagnier: Preface
  • Phillippa Bennett/Rosie Miles: Introduction: Morris in the Twenty-First Century
  • Maria Isabel Donas Botto: On (Re)Building the City: William Morris and the Regeneration of the British City
  • Ruth Levitas: After Morris: Warwick Herbert Draper and the Pursuit of Utopia
  • Jan Marsh: Red House: Past and Future
  • Hilary Laucks Walter: Another Stitch to the Legacy of William Morris: May Morris’s Designs and Writings on Embroidery
  • Tony Pinkney: Versions of Ecotopia in News from Nowhere
  • Piers J. Hale: William Morris, Human Nature and the Biology of Utopia
  • Peter Smith: Attractive Labour and So- cial Change: William Morris Now
  • David Mabb: Hijack: Morris Dialectically
  • Anna Vaninskaya: William Morris’s Germania: The Roots of Socialism
  • David Latham: Between Hell andEngland: Finding Ourselves in the Present Text
  • Phillippa Bennett: Rejuvenating Our Sense of Wonder: The Last Romances of William Morris
  • Rosie Miles: Virtual Paradise: Editing Morris for the Twenty- First Century
  • Thomas J. Tobin: William Morris 2.0: Spreading Socialist Ideals via the Internet
ISBN 978-3-03430-106-0 pb
sFr. 69 / € 47.50 / £ 40 / US $ 68.95

26 October 2010

A View from Kelmscott: Paintings by John Lendis on View at Brantwood

This latest exhibition by John Lendis represents his fascination for John Ruskin and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The series of paintings was produced after six weeks spent at Kelmscott in 2009, home of William Morris, founder of the Arts and Crafts movement. From being a child John Lendis has had a great interest in the Pre-Raphaelites. His varied career path has brought him full circle with his focus once again being the work of Morris and his companions.

After gaining a degree in textile art in Nottingham, Lendis spent a few years travelling, finally settling in Tasmania where he completed a Masters of Fine Art in Painting. He became an established artist in Australia, holding several exhibitions. Now back in England, Lendis has immersed himself in the paintings and ideas of John Ruskin and the work displayed at Kelmscott. He comments: "I find the abstract patterning of the landscape so interesting in Morris’s work and it seems to bring me closer to my initial training in fabric design….it is a form of landscape painting that has always deeply touched and inspired me.”  Visits to Brantwood, home of John Ruskin, have further inspired him: “I began to find out more about John Ruskin, about his attitudes to landscape and place. I found the vistas from the house filled with poignancy …..The view in wintertime from those remarkable windows seemed to fit with the culmination of Ruskin’s life, with his passion for landscaping the gardens, with his struggles to accord landscape painting a `rightful` place in the history of art. The paintings in A View from Kelmscott represent an accumulation, a synthesis, of all these experiences and influences.”

2 October–14 November 2010
Cumbria LA21 8AD UK
015394 41396

24 October 2010

Call for Papers: Craftsman Farms 1st Annual Symposium for Emerging Scholars

Craftsman Farms 1st Annual Symposium for Emerging Scholars

Transcending the role of furniture maker, Gustav Stickley used The Craftsman to position himself as a spokesman for the Arts and Crafts movement’s aesthetic concerns and theoretical basis.  Throughout its fifteen-year history, the movement’s fundamental issues were documented and debated in the magazine’s columns, illustrations, and advertisements. In celebration of the centennial of Stickley’s home in Morris Plains, NJ, Craftsman Farms will host a day-long conference on 15 April 2011 for emerging scholars.  We invite current graduate students and recently graduated scholars to submit proposals that critically address the thought, intention, and production of objects in the Arts and Crafts movement.  Papers that use The Craftsman as a starting point for critical inquiry are particularly encouraged.

For more information and submission guidelines, please direct all inquiries to: Jonathan Clncy, 

11 October 2010

William Morris on Happiness

It is interesting how Morris's words get around. On the "Happiness Project" blog—tied to a book of the same title by Gretchen Rubin—the following was posted on 9 October, accompanied by the photograph shown:
“The secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.”-- William Morris
I'm thunderstruck by the truth of this observation. In other words, mindfulness. Always mindfulness!
* Today, a reader commenting on the previous post mentioned TVTropes.org (and its addictive qualities). If you've never looked at it, check it out. Fascinating.
* If you'd like the new and improved starter kit for starting your own happiness-project group, for people doing happiness projects together, email me at grubin at gretchenrubin dot com. If you're wondering why you'd want to consider doing that, read here.
It turns out that the quotation, from Morris's lecture, "The Aims of Art" (collected in Signs of Change, 1888), has been truncated into a single sentence and taken out of context. The ful passage reads:
They will discover, or rediscover rather, that the true secret of happiness lies in the taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life, in elevating them by art instead of handing the performance of them over to unregarded drudges, and ignoring them; and that in cases where it was impossible either so to elevate them and make them interesting, or to lighten them by the use of machinery, so as to make the labour of them trifling, that should be taken as a token that the supposed advantages gained by them were not worth the trouble and had better be given up. All this to my mind would be the outcome of men throwing off the burden of Artificial Famine, supposing, as I cannot help supposing, that the impulses which have from the first glimmerings of history urged men on to the practice of Art were still at work in them.
Creating the motto does not, of course,  deny the truth in Morris's statement, of course.

02 October 2010

Arts & Crafts Moments Exhibition at T. C. Steele House in Indiana

T. C. Steele State Historic Site in Brown County, Indiana, allows you to step back in time and witness a revolutionary period in art through the Steeles' lives and their deliberate design choices. The exhibition, Arts & Crafts Moments,; highlighting artifacts and architecture from the Arts and Crafts movement, runs from 2 November 2010 through 30 March 2012.
Theodore Clement Steele (1847–1926), noted Indiana artist and member of the Hoosier Group of American regional impressionist painters, was inspired by the picturesque scenes that he encountered in Brown County. In 1907, Steele and his second wife, Selma Neubacher Steele, purchased property in Brown County and began construction of their home, which they named "The House of the Singing Winds." They built the Large Studio to accommodate Steele's work and landscaped the surrounding hillsides to enhance the beauty of their property. Selma created several acres of gardens around the home. From 1907 to 1921, the Steeles wintered in Indianapolis. They established a home in Bloomington when Steele became artist in residence at Indiana University in 1922. Each spring they returned to their Brown County property.
As Steele's popularity grew, an increasing number of visitors were attracted to Brown County to meet the artist and to see his work and estate. Steele was at the forefront of the state's art movement and is still one of Indiana's most honored artists. His appreciation of nature, combined with his intelligence and capacity for concentrated study, raised his works to an extraordinary level.

Guided tours are offered through "The House of the Singing Winds" and the Large Studio where changing exhibits display paintings done throughout Steele's life. The 211-acre site includes five hiking trails, the Dewar Log Cabin and the 92-acre Selma Steele Nature Preserve. The site offers many seasonal activities and events.
2 November 2010–30 March 2012
T.C. Steele State Historic Site
4220 T.C. Steele Road
Nashville, IN 47448
(812) 988-8457

William Morris Gallery Awarded £1.5 Million Award from the Heritage Lottery Fund

This just in from the William Morris Gallery:

The William Morris Gallery Development Project
We are delighted to announce that we have secured a major award of £1.5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, matched with funding from the Council. Our grateful thanks to the Monument Trust which has pledged a significant amount to the project and to the Foyle Foundation for their generous support.
What will the development project achieve?
Not only will much more of our world-famous collections be on display, but we will also be showing them in new and beautifully refurbished galleries. And visitors of every kind, young and old, will enjoy the very best facilities. There will be a new learning centre with a purpose-built space for school groups, and an excellent shop and tea- room. And, of course, there will a suitably radical and exciting programme of events and activities – all designed to open the eyes of a new generation to the wonders of William Morris and his world.
What will the ‘new’ William Morris Gallery look like?
We have worked with a design team, and with English Heritage, to develop detailed plans for the project, which have now been submitted for planning permission. More details will become available soon.
The William Morris Gallery website has detailed information about the development project.