William Morris: Words & Wisdom



Publication Date: 16 October 2014
Price: £10
ISBN: 978 1 85514 494 1
Format: 190 x 170mm (P)
Illustrations: 80 b/w and colour
Extent: 144pp
Binding: Paperback with flaps
Category: Art History
Word Count: Approx 3,000 words

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By William Morris

A collection of observations by, and about, the great British polymath, visionary, designer and writer. Accompanied by images of Morris, his work and his collaborators.


‘I do not want art for a few, any more than I want education for a few, or freedom for a few.’ – William Morris

Born in London in 1834, William Morris was a radical thinker whose democratic vision for society and art has continued to influence designers, artists and writers to this day, long after his death in 1896. He was a gifted poet, architect, painter, writer and textile designer, who also founded the Kelmscott Press, the most famous of the Arts and Crafts private presses.

Morris’s ideas later came to influence the Garden City movement, as well as numerous artists and craftspeople, who sought to negotiate a viable place within the modern world in the troubled years that followed the First World War. His ideals inspired designers, including those who contributed to the 1951 Festival of Britain, with a direct sense of mission to bring the highest design standards within the reach of everyone.

During Morris’s lifetime, Oscar Wilde thought him ‘a master of all exquisite design and of all spiritual vision’, while forty years after Morris’s death George Bernard Shaw observed: ‘He towers greater and greater above the horizon beneath which his best advertised contemporaries have disappeared.’ This collection of quotations by Morris, his friends, associates and those who came after, reveals and explores his passionately held view that beautiful, functional design should be accessible to all.


William Morris was a prolific writer of poetry, fiction, such as News From Nowhere (1890) and essays, including ‘Of the Revival of Design and Handicraft’ (1888).