Lecture: Life With William Morris: A Biographer’s Perspective

Past event archive
16 October 2014, 19:00

Ondaatje Wing Theatre

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  • Late Shift||Lecture

Fiona MacCarthy, curator of the Gallery’s current exhibition Anarchy & Beauty: William Morris and his Legacy, 1860-1960, reflects on her long involvement with one of the most arresting figures in Victorian Britain. Her William Morris: A Life for Our Time (1994) won the Wolfson History Prize, and in this illustrated talk she traces Morris’s progress from cosseted child of the capitalist classes to revolutionary activist. Chaired by Marina Warner.

Herself the product of a privileged childhood, part of which she spent living in the Dorchester Hotel as a refuge from the Blitz, Fiona MacCarthy sprang to fame in 1989 with her controversial biography of the Roman Catholic craftsman and artist Eric Gill. Admired for her ability to use single characters to shed light on wider movements, scenes and eras, she went on to write lives of Stanley Spencer, Byron and Edward Burne-Jones – The Last Pre-Raphaelite: Edward Burne-Jones and the Victorian Imagination (2011) won the James Tait Black Prize for biography. ‘Her scholarship is exemplary; her style fluent; her judgement discriminating,’ Philip Ziegler has written of her. ‘Above all, she makes her galère come vividly alive.’

In partnership with the Royal Society of Literature.

Part of the programme of events complementing Anarchy and Beauty: William Morris and his Legacy 1860-1960

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