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:

28 August 2012


A song appears in chapter six of Morris's The Well at World's End, and like so many of Morris's poems, the words suggest a rhythm and melody right from the first verse :

Art thou man, art thou maid, through the long grass a-going?
For short shirt thou bearest, and no beard I see,
And the last wind ere moonrise about thee is blowing.
Would'st thou meet with thy maiden or look'st thou for me?”

Happily, someone has heard the cry of Morris's poetry, and set it to music. The Kurt Henry Band includes this very song, titled “An Evensong of Upmeads”, on their album, Heart Mind & All.

“Unlike musical settings of Morris I have heard,” Kurt Henry explained, “this setting is more folkloric and natural--I like to believe that Morris would approve. … I believe Morris scholar Fred Kirchhoff complimented me on this in a demo I sent him years before I seriously recorded it. I would be very pleased if society members heard this recording. It truly evokes the fresh, new (if nostalgic) world of the Morris romance. So yes, Morris IS available on iTunes.”

(Image: Age-old music from the Cantigas de Santa Maria Manuscript)

25 August 2012

New book: The Multifaceted Mr. Morris

Easily the most ambitious book project by Ray Nichols & Jill Cypher of Lead Graffiti, The Multifaceted Mr. Morris is the catalogue of the William Morris exhibition mounted in the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection at the University of Delaware for the “Useful & Beautiful” conference held in October 2010. More than 30 books, manuscripts, drawings, and other works are described and an introduction tells the story of how the collector came to collect Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites. The author, Jane Marguerite Tippett, is a PhD student in Art History at the University of Delaware.

As Lead Graffiti approaches printing via letterpress as designers, they wanted to find an interesting way to incorporate visual elements into the project. Many of the pieces included in the book are fabulous, often either one-of-a-kind or ones with an important provenance. The designers took each entry and looked for some visual element they found interesting. Often it was typographic, in the instance of a photo or a drawing it might just be a small area or a word from a letter. These images were printed in a light tone to complement the main text. It will be interesting for someone who visits the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection to look through some of the pieces and see if they can find the image. Sometimes it will be obvious and sometimes obscure.

The July 2012 print edition of Fine Books & Collections included a nice review of the book along with some additional information about Lead Graffiti, which is located in Newark, DE.

Printed via letterpress in Caslon type in two colors with eight color plates, The Multifaceted Mr. Morris is issued in an edition of 150 copies hand-bound copies: 100 in wrappers ($50) and 50 signed hardcovers ($125) bound with parchment spines.

The book is available from
Lead Graffiti
(302) 547-6930
or from Oak Knoll Books, New Castle, DE.

"Emery Walker, William Morris and the Best Surviving Arts and Crafts Interior in Britain"
Lecture by Christopher Wilk in New York, 10 September 2012

The William Morris Society will sponsor a lecture by Christopher Wilk in New York on the 10th of September. Our co-sponsors are the Grolier Club, and the American Friends of Arts and Crafts in Chipping Campden, with the support of the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms.

Sir Emery Walker, a distinguished printer and later the co-publisher of the Doves Press, was the man who provided both the inspiration and practical advice to William Morris to found the Kelmscott Press in 1890. Walker and Morris were close associates until Morris's death and the latter said of his neighbor and friend that he “did not think a day complete without a sight of Emery Walker.” Walker lived on Hammersmith Terrace, West London, overlooking the Thames from 1879 until his death in 1933. His house, 7 Hammersmith Terrace, is without doubt, the most intact surviving Arts and Crafts interior in Britain. This is owing to the fact that the house was lived in continuously by Walker, by his daughter, and then by his daughter's companion until 1999. This talk will focus on the Walker family, their house and its history—including its close association with William and May Morris, Philip Webb and with the Arts and Crafts in the Cotswolds—while also considering Walker’s crucial role in the Revival of Printing.

Christopher Wilk is Keeper of Furniture, Textiles and Fashion at the Victoria and Albert Museum and a trustee of the Emery Walker House.

Monday, 10 September 2012
6 p.m.
The Grolier Club
47 East 60th Street
New York, NY 10022
(212) 838-6690

Tickets $12 for members of the sponsoring organizations, $18 for others. To order send a check to William Morris Society, P.O. Box 53263, Washington, DC 20009 or go to www.morrissociety.org to pay using PayPal or a credit card. 

19 July 2012

Socialists at Play

May Morris, husband H. H. Sparling, Emery Walker, and George Bernard Shaw. 

Over a hundred years ago this month, Morris published his poem "Socialists at Play" in the July 1885 issue of The Commonweal. The Commonweal, edited by Morris, was the official newspaper of the Socialist League, and Morris published a good deal of original poetry and essays in its pages. While "Socialists at Play" is a little known, minor work of Morris's, it captures his spirit of fun and camaraderie even amidst his sincere and robust political commitment. What I like most about the poem is that it shows the high value Morris put on pleasure. Pleasure was, for Morris, a political goal as well as an end in and of itself. The poem begins,
FRIENDS, we have met amidst our busy life
To rest an hour from turmoil and from strife,
To cast our care aside while song and verse
Touches our hearts, and lulls the ancient curse.
For Morris, literature's capacity to produce rest and enjoyment was crucial; ideally, it was a means of creating pleasure for both the author and the reader. In the end, the poem suggests the essentially Morrisian idea that pleasure and work are interchangeable:

So through our play, as in our work, we see
The strife that is, the Peace that is to be.
At play, Morris and his fellow socialists can find enjoyment and rest as well as political meaning. The two are not mutually exclusive:

... Let the cause cling
About the book we read, the song we sing,
Cleave to our cup and hover o’er our plate,
And by our bed at morn and even wait.
Let the sun shine upon it; let the night
Weave happy tales of our fulfilled delight!

contributed by Elizabeth Carolyn Miller
(Photo via the Arts & Crafts Museum flickr feed)

13 June 2012

Johanna Lahr (1867-1904)

Very few women members of the Socialist League have been identified, and these few are mostly middle-class. It has been exciting to learn from the researches of German labor historians Gerd Callesen and Heiner Becker of a Socialist League member who was the wife of a journeyman baker as well as fervid union organizer. Born Annie Klebow in Germany in 1867, she emigrated to England around 1885-87. There she married her common-law partner in 1895 and gave birth to sons in 1899 and 1903, dying in childbirth in 1904 at the age of 37.

Lahr was a member of the Bloomsbury branch of the League and active speaker between 1888 and 1890, when she would have been 21-22 years of age. Commonweal records that she delivered 13 speeches during March 1888 alone! During this period she corresponded with Friedrich Engels, asking for his advice in understanding Marx’s theories. She would probably have known Morris briefly before he left the Socialist League in 1889; like Morris she was an anti-parliamentarian, but most likely a member of the League’s anarchist wing.

There were about 2000 German bakers in England and Wales in the period 1880-1910, and they formed a familiar presence in London’s east end, as memorialized in Israel Zangwill’s account of east London Jewish life in Children of the Ghetto (1892) and in exhibits at the present-day London Jewish Museum. Lahr’s 1889 leaflet, “The Poorest of the Wage Slaves,” is a rare extant instance of a polemical essay by an impoverished working class woman of the period. It describes with indignation the conditions of labor experienced by those in her husband’s occupation, and urges all journeyman bakers to unionize in order to gain better conditions.

Because Lahr’s leaflet may be difficult to read, a few passages are excerpted here:

The journeymen bakers must admit that they are, in comparison with any other skilled workers, the poorest, the most sweated, wretched slaves; that their present condition is a most deplorable one, and a disgrace to civilisation. The extraordinary long hours, varying from 14 to 16 hours a day, for the first five days of the week, 22 hours on Saturday, and Sunday work as well, makes up an average of from 90 to 120 hours each week; and in most cases the poor wretches have to work in filthy, unhealthy bakehouses not fit for a dog, let alone a human being. These wage-slaves are injured in health, and are broken men before they enter into full manhood; their lives cut short, and an early grave their reward. Now, lads, the time has arrived when you should bind yourselves together under the Banner of Unity, and strike the blow. God knows, your demands are too moderate; but as the saying goes, with eating commences a craving for more. . . .

Men and women, you are the producers of all wealth; therefore courage, brothers and sisters! Come and join hands with your fellows, no matter what creed or nationality they belong to, and we will win the battle.

Have no trust in your Houses of Parliament. The sooner they are turned into a washhouses or bakehouses the better for the workers. I am with you heart and spirit, and will never tire of helping you to a brighter future, where freedom, love, and harmony shall reign; where the dawn of the morning shall be greeted with gladness, and work be only a pleasure; and where the burden of life and sorrow-stricken faces shall disappear like a snow-white mist in the morning. 
Henry Detloff, Printer. 18 Sun Street, Finsbury, London. E.C.

In November 1890 a widespread strike for bakers’ union rights was conducted in London, and Johanna Lahr’s flyer might well have been distributed during this strike. The bakers won the conflict, in part because of the support of London Trade Union Council and trade unionist leader John Burns, who addressed assemblies of the bakers. One can only regret that this firm-minded and courageous woman died at 37, perhaps a victim of the difficult conditions under which women gave birth.

We owe thanks to Gerd Callesen for sending us this information, and to Ms. Sheila Lahr for this image of her ancestor’s pamphlet. A longer article on Lahr will appear in the July 2012 Newsletter of the William Morris Society in the United States. Mr. Callesen is eager to learn more about Lahr, and may be reached at gerd.callesen@chello.at. 

23 May 2012

Martha Nussbaum, Comte, Mill, Tagore… and William Morris

           Martha Nussbaum’s “Reinventing the Civil Religion:  Comte, Mill, Tagore” in the most recent issue of the scholarly journal Victorian Studies (54.1 [dated Autumn 2011], pp. 7-34) is an important and fascinating analysis of attempts to form a “humanistic ‘civil religion’ to counteract the power of egoism and greed” (7) in the nineteenth century.  Critiquing Auguste Comte (as did J. S. Mill) for almost comically appropriating concepts of ritual from traditional religion to inculcate civic virtue, Nussbaum prefers Mill’s posthumously-published essay, “The Utility of Religion,” which conceded the need to have some form of communal celebration but evaded Comte’s attempts at rigid control and shaping of subjectivities.  The most constructive, practicable, and humane conceptualization of a civic religion, according to Nussbaum, was undertaken by Rabindranath Tagore, whose The Religion of Man (1931), unlike Comte’s “Religion of Humanity,” celebrated artistic creativity, the importance of the individual, and inclusiveness  (women as well as men, for example).  Commenting on Tagore’s indebtedness to the religious sect of the Bauls for his conception of civic religion, Nussbaum connects this source to the idea that “society must preserve at its heart, and continually have access to, a kind of fresh joy and delight in the world, in nature, and in people, preferring love and joy to the dead lives of material acquisition that so many adults end up living, and preferring continual questioning and searching to any comforting settled answers” (23). 

I wonder how many others, like me, thought of William Morris’s News from Nowhere and its representation of communal joy, fellowship, and delight in work and nature in reading Nussbaum’s article.  Indeed, Chp. 18 of News from Nowhere explicitly takes up the topic of “The Religion of Humanity”:

‘More akin to our way of looking at life was the spirit of the Middle Ages to whom heaven and the life of the next world was such a reality, that it became to them a part of the life upon the earth….now, where is the difficulty in accepting the religion of humanity, when the men and women who go to make up humanity are free, happy, and energetic at least, and most commonly beautiful of body also, and surrounded by beautiful things of their own fashioning, and a nature bettered and not worsened by contact with mankind?’

Indeed, the last chapter of News from Nowhere involves the “haysel” feast, a communal celebration held in a medieval church that is “gaily dressed up for this latter-day festival, with festoons of flowers from arch to arch” (Chp. 32).

            Perhaps other Morriseans will know whether Morris exerted any direct influence on Tagore; my sole knowledge of a connection is the mention of Morris in 1 or 2 letters from Sir William Rothenstein to Tagore.  In any case I hope that Martha Nussbaum will reconsider Morris’s own role in creating an important paradigm of civic religion founded in creativity, inclusion, and social justice.

--Linda K. Hughes

16 May 2012

Declutter for Civilization's Sake

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
In the years since William Morris first delivered his “The Beauty of Life” lecture in 1880, this quotation has taken on a life of its own. People put it on their bulletin boards, transcribe it in their diaries, and tweet about it on Twitter.

For many, it also helps them to change their lives. “The William Morris Project”, on a blog called “Pancakes and French Fries”, was created by a former lawyer named Jules, who found herself disturbed by the death of her friend's parents in 2011, and the things they had left behind. Instead of a carefully curated collection of objects that could have told volumes about their lives, they had left a white noise of designer handbags, eighties clothes, and redundant kitchen utensils.

With Morris's quotation as her guide, Jules set out to escape the fate of her friend's parents. Naturally, her project focused on de-cluttering her home, keeping only useful or beautiful things. Her project is still going today, and has a large following—it's even inspired others to follow suit.

At first, it may seem that the people involved in the project are overlooking Morris's depth by focusing on a piece of interior decorating advice, but Morris wouldn't think so. He dubbed his quotation “a golden rule that will fit everybody”, calling upon people to follow it not just for their own well being, but to help revive true art, and to save Society from the oblivion of consumption. At least, that's the message he brought to his Birmingham audience in 1880:

“that message is, in short, to call on you to face the latest danger which civilisation is threatened with, a danger of her own breeding : that men in struggling towards the complete attainment of all the luxuries of life for the strongest portion of their race should deprive their whole race of all the beauty of life...”

By forgoing lots of silly luxury items in favor of a few useful and beautiful things, Morris's followers would be resisting the tide of Victorian Capitalism, and they would become the saviors of Society. Perhaps Jules and her followers are the same: tidying up our culture of excess, one drawer at a time.

25 April 2012

April feature continued: Places to visit in the United States to see works by Morris and Morris and Co.

United States - Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, New York to John F. Kennedy Library, Solano County, California. Both of these libraries have a Kelmscott Chaucer. Check out this blog updating who owns copies of the book. Of the 425 paper and 14 vellum copies, William S. Peterson and Sylvia Holton Peterson have been able to locate about "two-thirds." For more information, see:

20 April 2012

April feature continued: Places to visit in the United States to see works by Morris and Morris and Co.

Illinois - Augustana College. Rock Island, Illinois. Augustana College is featuring an exhibit titled "William Morris: Visions of An Ideal World" until 17 May. According to the Augustana College website, the exhibit includes works "produced by the Kelmscott Press, a private printing press started by Morris in 1891. Complementing the books will be Arts and Crafts objects from the Augustana College Art Museum. Other items in the display will show the beauty of Morris' designs for textiles and wallpaper as reproduced in contemporary books and on a calendar, scarf, china, tile, and container. Hours are 7:30 a.m.-midnight." For more information, visit:

19 April 2012

March Exhibit by 2012 WMS Award Winner a Success

Leslie Harwood at her Exhibition.

Last month, residents of Milwaukee could stroll down to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Art History Gallery to see the exhibit “William Morris’ Earthly Paradise: Precursor to the Private Press Movement”. This was curated by Leslie Harwood, the 2012 winner of the William Morris Society Fellowship. We've written about her project here; the award went towards installation costs, and printing the lovely catalogue.

With the exhibition and catalogue, Harwood argued convincingly that the failure of the Chiswick Press to produce satisfactory trial pages of Morris and Burne-Jones's illustrated Earthy Paradise, followed by the failure of that whole project, strongly motivated Morris to found the Kelmscott Press. She also highlighted the influence of the Kelmscott Press over subsequent Arts & Crafts private presses.

The event showed off the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Special Collections, including The Earthly Paradise printed by the Kelmscott Press. Another crown jewel of the exhibition, loaned by the Milwaukee Public Library, was a fifteenth-century Venetian book (Hypnerotomachia Poliphili) that inspired Morris and Burne- Jones in their designs for the Kelmscott Press.

Harwood's illustrated catalogue is like an exhibit unto itself, and it gives a thorough background to the original Earthly Paradise project and the Kelmscott Press. It also considers the Vale Press, the Essex House Press, the Elston Press, and the Golden Cockerel Press in relation to the Kelmscott Press. Electronic versions of the catalogue are available free of charge, just contact Ms. Harwood at leslie.harwood@gmail.com.

Click 'Read More' to see photos of the event:

April feature continued: Places to visit in the United States to see works by Morris and Morris and Co.

On your way to visit William Morris Society president Margaretta Frederick at the Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington, DE, take a trip to Arden, Delaware, founded in 1900 as a utopian community partially inspired by Morris's ideas. The community has a fascinating past. To quote from the Arden Artists website: "Arden was founded in 1900 by sculptor Frank Stephens and architect Will Price. They were part of the Arts and Crafts Movement in Philadelphia. Financial support for the project came from the soap-manufacturer Henry Fels." To learn more visit the website:

16 April 2012

Exhibition on Essex House Press

An Endeavour in Printing: highlights from the Essex House Press Collection
Court Barn Museum, Chipping Campden
26 April to 1 July 2012

The Essex House Press was a private printing press set up by the Guild of Handicraft. Its aim was to produce books using handmade paper, traditional printing and binding methods and often specially-designed typefaces. The Museum recently acquired the largest and most important collection of Essex House Press material.

The exhibition looks at highlights of the collection and provides an insight into Ashbee’s ideas and passions.

A catalogue including essays by Alan Crawford, Cameron O. Smith and David Lowden accompanies the exhibition.

Two Albion presses in the Guild’s workshops at Chipping Campden.

11 April 2012

April feature continued: Places to visit in the United States to see works by Morris and Morris and Co.

New Jersey -  The Stickley Museum and Craftsman Farms. Morris Plains, New Jersey. The Stickley Museum in Morris Plains is home to Gustav Stickley's country estate. It represents a great example of the American arts and crafts tradition. Known as "Craftsman Farms," Stickley Farms marked its hundredth anniversary in 2011. For Stickley, life, art, and beauty were inextricably intertwined.: “It is my own wish, my own final ideal, that the Craftsman house may so far as possible...be instrumental in helping to establish in America a higher ideal, not only of beautiful architecture, but of home life.” For more information, visit:

Preview of the exhibition Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde

Please join Historians of British Art and The English-Speaking Union for a preview of the exhibition Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde Thursday, May 24, 2012 6.30 - 8.30 pm.

In September 2012, Tate Britain (London) will open the much-anticipated exhibition Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde.  Inspired by early Renaissance painting and led by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, and John Everett Millais, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood rebelled against the establishment of the mid-19th century and became Britain’s first modern art movement. This major exhibition will bring together more than 150 works in different media, including painting, sculpture, photography, and the applied arts, revealing the Pre-Raphaelites to be advanced in their approach to every genre.  After closing at Tate in January 2013, this exhibition will move to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and then to Moscow and Tokyo.  Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde has been co-curated by Tim Barringer (Yale University), Jason Rosenfeld (Marymount Manhattan University, New York), and Alison Smith (Tate London).

This evening, co-curators Tim Barringer and Jason Rosenfeld will give U.S. audiences an early look at this important exhibition—addressing its key themes and its evolution as a project—during an informal, richly illustrated conversation at The English-Speaking Union in Manhattan.  Their lively discussion will be moderated by Peter Trippi, president of Historians of British Art and a co-curator of the recent touring exhibition J.W. Waterhouse: The Modern Pre-Raphaelite.  The conversation will be followed by a wine reception.


Dr. Tim Barringer is Paul Mellon Professor of the History of Art at Yale University.  Among his publications are Reading the Pre-Raphaelites (1998), Men at Work (2005), and Opulence and Anxiety (2007).  He co-curated Tate’s exhibition American Sublime: Landscape Painting in the United States, 1825-1880 (2002), and also Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and his Worlds (Yale, 2007).  This year he contributed an essay to the catalogue accompanying the Royal Academy’s exhibition, David Hockney: A Bigger Picture.

Dr. Jason Rosenfeld is Distinguished Chair and Professor of Art History at Marymount Manhattan College. He authored the new monograph on John Everett Millais (Phaidon Press) and co-curated the Millais retrospective that toured the world in 2007-2008.  He contributed an essay to the monograph Stephen Hannock (2009, Hudson Hills Press), and is curator of that artist’s exhibition, presently on view at the Marlborough Gallery, New York, and then traveling to the Marlborough Gallery, London.


The English-Speaking Union
U.S. National Headquarters
144 East 39th Street (between Lexington and Third Avenues)
New York, NY 10016

Advance registration is required

$20 for members of HBA and ESU; $25 for non-members.

Payment may be made by credit card, or by check payable to “The English-Speaking Union.”

Checks should be mailed to Ms. Caitlin Murphy, The English-Speaking Union, 144 East 39th Street, New York, NY 10016.  In all cases, you will receive a confirmation of payment if you have provided your email address.


For content-related questions, please email Peter Trippi at ptrippi@aol.com. For questions about payment, please email Caitlin Murphy at cmurphy@esuus.org.

John Everett Millais (1829-1896), Isabella, 1848-9, Oil on canvas, 102.9 x 142.9 cm, National Museums Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery

04 April 2012

The month of April will be dedicated to looking at places to visit in the United States to see works by Morris and Morris and Co.

MAINE - The Sarah Orne Jewett House (Writer, 1849-1909). South Berwick, Maine. Built in 1774, Jewett and her sister Mary updated the Greek revival house they inherited with many arts and crafts touches. According to the Historic New England website, "While the sisters retained earlier wallpapers in four rooms, they made a dramatic statement in the aesthetic style in the front hall, choosing a bold pattern of tulips on a reflective ground to complement a William Morris carpet in the 'Wreath' pattern." The website goes on to talk about how Mary removed the "Wreath" carpet after Sarah died, replacing it with another Morris carpet. The "Wreath" carpet ended up in a trunk, only being rediscovered a few years ago. For more information, visit:

20 March 2012

News from Nowhere online

The illustrated online text of Morris’s News from Nowhere is now updated and available at http://www.uiowa.edu/~wmorris/NewsFromNowhere/.

The online version is designed to help students and others visualize Guest’s London and his travels through Nowhere. What did the subway which Guest so hated look like in 1890? The Hammersmith Bridge of the time? Thornycroft’s factory? The Houses of Parliament? Westminster Abbey? Trafalgar Square? What was the “Guest House”? The “Old House for New Folk”? The scenes which the rowers viewed as they followed the Thames upriver? The likely site of the final feast in the small country church?

This edition is designed to make Morris’s critique of the old world and vision of the new more accessible and enjoyable for 2012 readers. We welcome comments and suggestions for additions, which should be sent to florence-boos@uiowa.edu.

05 March 2012

“William Morris’ Earthly Paradise: Precursor to the Private Press Movement”

The exhibition, “William Morris’ Earthly Paradise: Precursor to the Private Press Movement,” will open at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Art History Gallery 8 March 2012.  This exhibition, curated by Leslie Harwood, a MA candidate at the University, will focus on William Morris’s and Edward Burne-Jones’s Earthly Paradise project in relation to the Kelmscott Press, founded nearly thirty years after the Earthly Paradise project was initiated, in order to prove that the failure of the earlier project to be the instigator in the founding of the Kelmscott Press.

This exhibition will feature several editions of Morris’s Earthly Paradise, the 1868

mass produced edition featuring only one of Burne-Jones’s woodcuts, the 1896 Kelmscott Press edition, and Arthur Richard Dufty’s 1974 reproduction of the “Cupid and Psyche” series, which was printed with Burne-Jones’s original wood blocks. Dufty’s reproduction offers his own interpretation of how Morris intended to design The Earthly Paradise. The exhibition will also feature several books printed at the Kelmscott Press such as William Morris’s News From Nowhere and Well at the World’s End.

Alongside Morris’ books from the Kelmscott Press, several private presses influenced by the press at Kelmscott will be featured, including the Vale Press, Essex House Press, and Golden Cockerel Press, all in London. There will also be two American private presses, the Philosophers Press and the Elston Press. The aims of the exhibition are to discuss Morris’s and Burne-Jones’s intentions, the reasons why they founded the Kelmscott Press, and how the aforementioned private presses continued the legacy of Morris’s ideals in presenting the book as a quality, aesthetically pleasing everyday object.

A catalogue for the exhibition written by Ms. Harwood is available for purchase; for details please contact leslie.harwood@gmail.com.

The William Morris Society-US announces the awarding of 2012 Fellowships

The 2012 William Morris Society Fellowship was awarded to Leslie Harwood, a MA candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Art History and Museum Studies. The award will help fund the installation of Ms. Harwood’s thesis exhibition entitled “William Morris’ Earthly Paradise: Precursor to the Private Press Movement” at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Art History Gallery, opening 8 March 2012.  The award will also be applied towards the printing of a thesis exhibition catalog offered to all of the visitors of the gallery free of charge. The catalogs, as well as the exhibition itself, will educate the UW-Milwaukee community and the greater public about William Morris’s profound impact on the Kelmscott Press and the press’s greater influence on the history of the Private Press Movement. For more information on the exhibition, see additional blog postings.

The 2012 Joseph R. Dunlap Memorial Fellowship was awarded to Kyle Stoneman, a PhD candidate at Churchill College, Cambridge. Mr. Stoneman will be investigating the artistic contributions of Evelyn Waugh, including his art criticism, illustrations, photography, and woodcuts, and how this work embraces William Morris’s theories. Waugh’s criticism of modern society’s social and aesthetic standards all resonate with the philosophy of the Arts and Crafts Movement.

02 February 2012

Museo de Arte de Ponce announces symposium on “Treasures of the Collection in Context: The Pre-Raphaelites”

In an unprecedented event for Puerto Rico, on Saturday, 4 February 2012, Museo de Arte de Ponce will host an international symposium titled “Treasures of the Collection in Context: The Pre-Raphaelites in the Museo de Arte de Ponce Collection,” Art Daily reports. From 10 am to 5 pm, renowned specialists in art history and Victorian literature will meet in this south-coast Puerto Rico city to discuss the artists and works contained in the museum’s world-famed collection. This conference represents the most important academic event ever held on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in Puerto Rico. For more information, http://repeatingislands.com/2011/12/31/museo-de-arte-de-ponce-announces-symposium-on-treasures-of-the-collection-in-context-the-pre-raphaelites/
 Edward Coley Burne-Jones, The Sleeping Beauty from the small Briar Rose series. Oil on canvas, 60 x 115 cm. Puerto Rico, Museo de Arte de Ponce.

02 January 2012

Talk by David Mabb at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, 12 January 2012

"On the Passage of a Few Patterns through a Rather Brief Moment in  
Time: David Mabb’s Appropriations of William Morris 1999-2011"

William Morris thought that interior design had a fundamental role to  play in the transformation of everyday life. This essentially  political motivation - a commitment to the radical potential of design  - is behind much of his work as a designer and craftsman and the setting up of Morris &  Co. Morris's designs are highly schematized  representations of nature, where it is always summer and never winter;  the plants are always in leaf, often flowering, with their fruits available in abundance, ripe for picking, and with no human labor in sight. Mabb's paintings, photographs, textiles and videos, work with and against Morris's designs by contrasting them with the work of Malevich, the Russian Constructivists, modernist architecture, photographs of industry and recently images of slogans. These combinations produce unstable picture spaces that are never fixed, where a Morris pattern and the other image never merge or separate.

This lecture has been organised to accompany the exhibition William Morris: Story, Memory, Myth which is open until 29 January 2012 at Two Temple Place. The exhibition draws upon the remarkable collections of  
the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, which is closed for major refurbishment until July 2012. Organised in collaboration with The Courtauld Institute of Art, this exhibition is the first in the annual series of exhibitions by The Bulldog Trust which are intended to draw on and increase the visibility of collections across the country, and to provide opportunities for young and emerging curators.
Thursday, 12 January 2012
6 p.m.
Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre
The Courtauld Institute of Art
Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN UK