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.