28 July 2012

Celebrating William Morris at Kelmscott House

My love of William Morris' designs is legendary and is normally sated by buying shirts and ties in Liberty of London. At the end of last year I went to see a William Morris exhibition at Two Temple Place and through that I learnt that there is a William Morris Society and that they have a place not far away in Chiswick.

So I went.

It is not that easy to get to. Public transport gets you as far as Ravenscourt Park and then gives up and leaves you to make your own way south for a few hundred meters to the river.

You have to cross the Great West Road (A4) along the way and that means taking a hideous underpath. It is at times like that that you realise how much we have given up for the car. A big mistake that we may be about to reverse.

The Society is in the coach house of the grandiose Kelmscott House where William Morris lived from 1878 to his death in 1896. The coach house is where he set up a loom so the connection between the Society and the man is explicit.

It is only a coach house though and so there is not that much in it. But this is William Morris and you do not need much to make an impression.

There is a print press that Morris used, some original wall paper and tiles from the period, examples of designs in progress, a Burne-Jones sketch and, most importantly sample books for wallpapers and fabrics. There is also a very tempting shop.

I took loads of photographs, and that took a lot of restraint, so picking just two for this article was difficult.

I chose the one above first because it reminded me a lot of David Hockney's work in it's use of simple white flowers and green leaves.

The second is more obviously William Morris and I've probably got a tie in that pattern, or something very similar.

In the half hour or so that I was there several small groups arrived to look around often having come some distance to do so and that is both a testament to the continuing lure of William Morris and also to my stupidity in not going earlier.

That error I'll not repeat and I'll be going back to see more of William Morris one day. Besides, I could do with some more mugs and already regret not buying some this time.

1 comment:

  1. What paint did u used for that second image


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