William Morris Facts

William Morris was an English artist, poet and politician. He was incredibly creative and he produced decorative art in a range of different forms, including: textiles, furniture, wallpaper, stained glass windows, book design and tapestry. Below are some facts about William Morris. Some the information you will probably already know, but hopefully some will be new to you.

  • William Morris lived and worked during the Victorian era. He was born in 1834 and he died in 1896.
  • He earned a degree from Exeter College, Oxford. After his graduation he started to work as an architect.
  • William Morris was friends with the painters Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and he soon stopped being an architect in order to become a painter.
  • In 1859 William Morris married Jane Burden. Soon after they had a house built for them on Bexley Heath. The house was called Red House and was designed by Philip Webb. William and Jane designed all of the interiors and decoration themselves. They spent about two years getting the house just right, doing much of the work themselves. They were so happy with the results that they decided to start their own fine art craft work company.
  • In 1861 their company, called Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Co., started to make furniture, tableware, soft furnishings and wallpaper. All of the items produced were handcrafted.
  • By the mid-1860s, William Morris concentrated on designing wallpaper. His patterns were inspired by the natural world, and these are some his best-known works of art.
  • In 1875 William Morris started a new company, Morris and Co.
  • William Morris wrote many poems during his lifetime. Most of his best work is heavily influenced by the Icelandic sagas.
  • He set up the Kelmscott Press in the early 1890s. This company published books which contained beautiful illustrations.
  • In 1883 Morris joined a political party called  the Social Democratic Federation. He also helped to start a new party called the Socialist League.
  • When William Morris died in 1896, his doctor said that Morris had carried out the work of ten men during his lifetime.

A famous William Morris quote is:

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

William Morris

Follow the link to find out more about some other famous Victorians.

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