Essay on William Morris

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William Morris William Morris (1834 – 1896) was perhaps the most important British decorative artist of the 19th century. A prolific designer, craftsman and decorator, his work and ideas have had a major influence on the development of modern interior design. William Morris was one of the most influential figures in the Victorian and Edwardian art world. As a young man at Oxford he became involved with the Pre-Raphaelite movements, mixing with such artists as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt and Edward Coley Burne-Jones. Always a man of innovation, Morris soon tired of the subject matter and philosophy of the Pre-Raphaelites. His desire for social reform was also an important factor in his artistic growth and he moved on from…show more content…
Instead of using a genuine shade of indigo, the design was printed in a Prussian blue, the nearest to indigo that could be achieved using modern aniline dyes. This led William Morris to speak out against the capitalist forces, which he considered had brought his industry to a very bad state. “Henceforward there is an absolute divorce between the commercial process and the art of printing. Anyone wanting to produce dyed textiles with any artistic quality in them must entirely forego the modern and commercial methods in favour of those which are at least as old as Pliny…” In other words, William Morris ended his connection with Clarkson (who printed the design) and abandoned production of Tulip and Willow. He also set up a tiny dye house in the basement and scullery of his house in Queen Square, hoping that he might find his own solution to the problem. In fact it was only in 1883, after he had established himself at Merton Abbey, that he was finally able to produce a satisfactory printing of Tulip and Willow. Preliminary Design Morris’s intricate flower patterns, which seem so effortless and casual in their final form, were achieved after long hours of patient designing and the production of dozens of different designs. This preliminary stage was important, as Morris recognised. In a lecture called “Making the Best of It”, delivered in 1879, he offered these words of advice to potential designers: “no amount of
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