National Portrait Gallery, UK
Anarchy & Beauty
Excerpt from The National Portrait Gallery, London:
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Anarchy & Beauty:
William Morris and His Legacy
The National Portrait Gallery, London
WILLIAM MORRIS: ART & REVOLUTION
‘Tomorrow, when the civilised world shall have a new art, a glorious art, made by the people and for the people’
William Morris lecture ‘labour and pleasure versus Labour and sorrow’, 1880
William Morris was the greatest artist-craftsman of his period, especially famous for his wallpapers and textiles. He was an extraordinarily creative designer of pattern. Morris ran a successful decorating and manufacturing business as well as a high profile London shop in Oxford Street.
But this was only one of his activities. Morris in his time was even better known as a poet, equal to Tennyson and Browning. He was a passionate social reformer, an early environmentalist, and an important political theorist. His Utopian novel News from Nowhere had a profound national and international influence.
Uniting all these activities was Morris’s belief in the power of beauty to transform human lives. In propounding this belief through his lecturing and writing, his energy was formidable in demonstrating and campaigning for the socialist cause.
When Morris lay dying in 1896 one of his doctors diagnosed his fatal illness as ‘simply being William Morris, and having done more work than most ten men’.
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William Morris, British, (1834-1896)
b. March 24, 1834, London
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Art in Context - Art for the Day: March 24