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William Morris and Red House

Monday, August 18th 2014 by

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”  – William Morris, 1880

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William Morris (1834-1896) was an English textile designer, poet, novelist, translator, and social activist; and is often considered the father of the British Arts and Crafts Movement. He was a major contributor to the revival of traditional British textile arts and methods of production.

Morris was inspired by the flora of his local environment. He believed that the inspiration for any colour, line or shape in decoration, should be inspired by nature.

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Our latest collection, Red House, is of course inspired by Morris. The name referring to Morris’ home of five years, ‘Red House’ which was co-designed by Morris and architect Philip Webb, with construction completed in 1860. It was once described by Edward Burne-Jones as ‘the beautifullest place on earth’.

Although only living at Red House for 5 years, Morris decorated the walls, ceilings and furniture with his bespoke designs, as well as designs from his friends, most notably the Pre-Raphaelite painters Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti; various stained glass and wall murals remain.

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During his years at Red House, Morris founded the decorative arts firm “Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co” (later ‘Morris & Co’). “The Firm”, as it came to be known, was highly fashionable among Britain’s upper and middle classes. Their unique selling point was the large range of items produced, along with Morris’ philosophy of artistic control over production. Morris designed tapestries, wallpaper, fabrics, furniture, and stained glass windows.

Red House remained a private residence until 2003, when it was acquired by the National Trust of Great Britain, whom have undertaken conservation and maintenance work to allow its use as a museum which you can visit today.

Morris’ quote, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”, underpins how many of us decorate our homes today – creating beautiful and comfortable living spaces. We are constantly inspired to create beautiful things for your homes, and our Red House Collection is an example of that.

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Inspired by Morris’ designs, our Red House collection features Bloomsbury and Kelmscott, two large decorative botanical motifs, which coordinate back with smaller vintage inspired patterns of Kennett, Fitzroy, Baron and Heygate; all in tarnished tones of Scarlet Red & Gold and deep Cabernet and Brindle.

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Made in Australia, this collection provides vintage appeal that will suit a contemporary or period home and make a timeless statement.

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/red-house/
The Beauty of Life lecture: http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/24607/
Parry, Linda (1983). William Morris Textiles. New York, Viking Press
Hopper, John (2012), William Morris and the Pattern on Nature

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