The gallery is the only one in Britain that is dedicated to the leader of the Arts and Crafts Movement (1850-1900) William Morris, who is best known for his wallpaper designs. Set within a Georgian house which was built in 1740 it is a grand setting for the Victorian designers work; Morris also lived in the house between 1848 and 1856 with his family so makes it the perfect setting.
The reasoning behind a museum is to offer inspiration, education and enjoyment through the collection of items displayed. The William Morris gallery has all these factors in its collections some of my favourite are a full scale replica of Morris’s workshop, a letter explaining his reasoning for rejection of clergy for a life dedicated to art and examples of his speeches advocating socialism. I think that they give the visitor a rounded insight into the inspiration and life of Morris.
The diffusion between the permanent collection, setting and new exhibits is true to the Arts and Crafts movements’ ideology as appreciation of quality craftsmanship is upheld throughout the gallery. Art Fund Prize judge said it, ‘offers a memorable way of experiencing art of the highest quality in the context of a great historic personality.’
The William Morris gallery is a treasure cove of objects made with love and passion, and with the upmost beauty and ingenuity handcrafted examples include wallpaper, ceramics, furniture and textile samples.
‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful,’ Morris has been quoted as saying and this is certainly a true reflection of the objects displayed in the William Morris gallery.
Morris Wallpaper, 1862 - 'Trellis'