William Morris (24 March 1834 – 3 October 1896) was a revolutionary force in Victorian Britain whose work dramatically changed the fashions and ideologies of the era. As a craftsman, designer, poet, printer, socialist, novelist, and environmentalist, Morris was not only influential in his own time, but his legacy remains alive and important today.
The William Morris Society is based in the Coach House and the basement of the Kelmscott House, where he lived from 1878 until his death in 1896. There is a small museum which is normally open to the public two days a week and at other times by appointment. The house is privately owned and the upper floors are not open to the public.
The museum collection contains a number of Kelmscott Press titles as well as his printing press, which is still used on a regular basis by the Society’s artist in residence. The Society has a comprehensive collection of Morris and Company wallpapers and watercolour designs, and a selection of textiles, ranging from a Hammersmith rug and woven hangings to printed cottons, silks and embroideries.
The William Morris Society was founded in 1955 to make his life, work and ideas better known. The small museum is open regularly Thursday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 12.00 – 5.00pm. In addition, the Society puts on events: talks, exhibitions and activities for children, especially in school holidays, and publishes material relating to William Morris. Normally school groups and private tours are welcomed.
See also: Emery Walker’s house, open to the public. The nearby home of William Morris’s great friend Emery Walker at 7 Hammersmith Terrace also has lots of examples of William Morris’s work.
See also: Arts & Crafts walking trail, Hammersmith
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