Out on the tiles - Victorian Style
William Morris was born in Walthamstow in 1834. A relaxed home environment and access to the countryside developed his attitude to life and an enduring love of nature.
He went to Marlborough School and afterwards Oxford University intending to enter the Church, however towards the end of his degree the influences of 'English Gothic' architecture began to take hold and he did not continue down the ecclesiastical route. After a period as an articled clerk to an architect in Oxford, Morris turned to painting. His friendships with fellow artists and designers Edward Burne-Jones , Philip Webb and Dante Gabrielle Rossetti were all formed during or just after his university carreer.
After decorating a house in Bexley Heath, designed by Philp Webb, Morris had developed an intense interest in the decorative arts. In 1861 he formed the company Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co with Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabrielle Rossetti, Ford Madox Ford and Philp Webb. The company, known later as Morris & Co became famous for selling original furniture, stained glass, pottery, wallpaper and fabrics. The painting 'Portrait of Esther' by Lucien Pissarro of his wife shows a tapestry by Morris in the background.
By the 1880s Morris had become an internationally renowned and commercially successful designer. New guilds based on the medieval ideals of promoting skills were set up and began to take up his ideas, presenting for the first time a unified approach amongst architects, painters, sculptors and designers.
Morris placed great value on work, the joy of craftsmanship and the natural beauty of materials. He believed that everything in a home should be beautiful and functional – he really was the father of our modern obsession with interior design and together with John Ruskin instrumental in the development of the Arts & Crafts Movement.
See where William Morris was born in Walthamstow, London.»