A new exhibition at The William Morris Society explores the art and advocacy of May Morris (1862-1938) a remarkable Hammersmith resident. The younger daughter of Victorian designer, poet and writer William Morris, May wrote to a friend towards the end of her life, “I’m a remarkable woman, always was, though none of you seemed to think so.”
Her extraordinary accomplishments as a designer-craftsperson and advocate were largely forgotten until the end of the twentieth century, when public interest was renewed. May Morris: Art & Advocacy seeks to further public knowledge about the wide-ranging talents and accomplishments of this multi-talented woman.
Like her father, May was both a polymath – talented in many artistic fields – and a committed socialist. She became Head of Embroidery at the decorative arts firm of Morris & Co at only age twenty-three and also designed wallpapers for the company. May excelled in the field of fine needlework, producing designs, teaching courses, lecturing, and writing numerous articles and a book on the subject.
May co-founded the Women’s Guild of Arts in 1907 to enable female artists and crafts makers to fully engage with and participate in artistic culture. Hitherto, female artists had been restricted by a lack of arts and crafts organisations extending membership to women. The Women’s Guild of Arts enabled members to discuss, develop and exhibit their artworks. May placed significant efforts on maintaining her father’s legacy and greatly contributed to the literature on William Morris including editing the 24 volumes of her father’s collected works.
May Morris: Art & Advocacy explores May’s exceptional designs for Morris & Co., her expertise in decorative needlework, her significant position within the public sphere, her pivotal role in co-founding the Women’s Guild of Arts and her great efforts in memorialising her father’s legacy.
Free, no booking required.
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