William Morris was born on March 24th, 1834 in Walthamstow, East London. He was an artist, designer, poet, writer and early proponent of socialism in Britain. However, he is perhaps best known for instigating the Arts & Crafts design movement in the 1860s that went on to flourish at the end of the 19th century in Britain, Canada, Australia and the USA. The Arts & Crafts Movement set about to revive the qualities, traditional techniques and aesthetics of medieval craftsmanship as a reaction to the way in which the Industrial Revolution had absorbed the design, decorative arts and architecture of the time. Morris was greatly inspired by the pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood of artists, of which he was a part, and also the works of John Ruskin. The designs were simplistic in their concept and sympathetic to their medium. Many designs were inspired by flora and fauna of the British Isles. Morris was educated at Exeter College, Oxford before becoming an architectural apprentice with a practice specialising in Gothic revival architecture. He was never to qualify as an architect, instead finding his aptitude was more suited to artistic design. In 1861, he founded a company called Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co that produced all manner of textiles for the home, chintzes, tapestries, wallpapers, carpets, furniture as well as jewellery, carvings, metal and glass wares. The firm was immediately successful and later came to be known as Morris & Co. By the 1880s, Morris had become actively involved in politics and the socialist movement, however after various power struggles within the Socialist League he founded, he became disillusioned and returned to his artistic and literary interests. In 1891, Morris set up the Kelmscott Press at Kelmscott House in Hammersmith, which used the traditional printing methods of the 15th century to produce lavishly decorated books, focusing in particular on typography. This remained his focus along with Morris & Co and his literary interests until his death at Kelmscott House on October 3rd, 1896.
There are many museums and houses dedicated to preserving William Morris’ designs and ideas, among them his own house, Red House in Bexleyheath, built and designed in the Arts & Crafts style; and other examples such as Standen House in West Sussex and Wightwick Manor in the West Midlands.
Surrey Linen Company stock a comprehensive range of table linen and kitchen textiles in some of William Morris's most celebrated designs.
William Morris products include oven gloves,aprons,tea cosies,pot holders,tea towels,trimmed towels,and seat pads.Fabric and PVC are available in the William Morris tablecloth range as well as placemats and napkins.
Morris’ designs remain tremendously popular and are reproduced widely as home textiles, wallpapers and gifts and ensure that Morris’ works and ideas live on.