There is so much to say about this extraordinary man and so much written about his life and work, that I couldn’t possibly do it justice here. I recommend the account created by the V&A, which I do not think can be bettered.
The one thing I will share is my favourite quotation:
“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”
I always keep this in mind and did once quote it to Bill to justify spending £46 on a vintage kitchen drainer, instead of a quarter of the price on a plastic one.
I became fascinated by Mr Morris when I fell in love with the Liberty store in London. (I am still very proud to say that I was a supplier of this fabulous shop for over 25 years. More on that here.) Even before my stitching days, I can remember my favourite skirt was a William Morris pattern produced by Liberty. That is over 40 years ago!
I have included some images of my favourite designs, although it is difficult to choose when you see the choice. The Strawberry Thief is a great favourite. Morris is said to have been inspired after chasing off a thrush stealing his soft fruit. In turn this inspired me to use the Liberty version of the pattern for my own Thread Thief Hussif. The Willow design was the pattern I was going to use for curtains and so on when Bill and I bought our VW Camper, but that’s a whole other story…
Mr Morris’s slightly muted colours are very much my favourite palette, and I looked to him for my new silk thread collection. Apparently, he was inspired by the chalky colours of distemper paint. I’m very happy to go along with that and have spent several hours at my kitchen table winding the new collection onto thread winders.
Liberty have a spotlight on their current Morris interpretations here. There’s even a Strawberry Thief dog bed. Monty should be so lucky!