by Frederick Hollyer
platinotype cabinet card, circa 1886
5 3/4 in. x 4 in. (147 mm x 103 mm) image size
Given by Robert R. Steele, 1939
Sitterback to top
- Mary ('May') Morris (1862-1938), Designer and craftswoman; daughter of William Morris. Sitter in 60 portraits, Artist associated with 1 portrait.
Artistback to top
- Frederick Hollyer (1838-1933), Photographer and art publisher. Artist associated with 111 portraits, Sitter associated with 6 portraits.
Linked publicationsback to top
- 100 Pioneering Women, p. 77 Read entry
Mary ‘May’ Morris (1862-1938), designer and craftswoman, was integral to the Arts and Crafts movement. The younger daughter of the designer, author and socialist visionary William Morris, she was brought up amid his circle, which included the Pre-Raphaelites (she posed for Rossetti) and George Bernard Shaw (with whom she had a tumultuous affair). She married Henry Halliday Sparling, Secretary of the Socialist League, in 1890. She elevated embroidery to the status of an ‘art’, having first partly learnt it from her mother, Jane, and studied embroidery and textiles at the National Art Training School, London. In 1885, she joined the embroidery branch of her father’s firm, Morris & Co., which she managed, designing textiles, jewellery and wallpaper in the Morris house style. After leaving Morris & Co. in 1896, her passion for craft and embroidery continued unabated. She taught at London’s Central School of Arts and Crafts, co-founded (in 1907) the Women’s Guild of Arts, and wrote and undertook US lecture tours. Rekindling her friendship with Shaw, she abandoned her habitual modesty, writing to him: ‘I’m a remarkable woman – always was, though none of you seemed to think so.’
Placesback to top
- Place made: United Kingdom: England, London (photographer's studio, 9 Pembroke Square, Kensington, London)
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1886back to top
Current affairsThe Liberals win the election after the Irish Nationalists, including John Dillon, side with them over Home Rule, and Gladstone resumes the seat of Prime Minister. The failure of the first Home Rule Bill divides the Liberal party; those opposed to Home Rule break away to form the Liberal Unionist Party, supporting the Conservatives. This results in a Liberal loss at an emergency election called, and the Marquess of Salisbury becomes Prime Minister for the second time.
Art and scienceThe Severn Tunnel is opened, freeing up the route between London and South Wales.
Pears' soap company buy the copyright to John Millais's painting Bubbles, using it in an iconic and enduringly recognisable advertisement. Millais, however, attracted strong criticism from the art community, who protested against the debasement and commercialisation of art.
InternationalThe American poet Emily Dickinson dies, aged 54. Dickinson wrote over 1,700 poems, which first came to light in 1890, and is recognised as one of America's most important writers.
The Statue of Liberty, designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, is erected on Bedloe's island. The huge copper statue, a gift from the French to the United States to commemorate the centennial of American independence, is an iconic figure of liberty, and America itself.
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