William Morris (1834-1896) lived in Walthamstow, now part of greater London, when he was young. The William Morris Gallery, with many examples of his art and a detailed telling of his story, now occupies the house he had lived in as a teenager.
I’m not sure why we had this William Morris theme going on during this trip, but it was fun to track down some of the places with his art and designs on display.
Our visit to Walthamstow was a pleasant day out, well worth the trip.
This blue plaque commemorates William Morris and also Edward Lloyd, the publisher who lived in the Morris house after the Morris family left it.
William Morris patterns show up everywhere, even before you get to the gallery.
This is the tile they used in the Walthamstow station.
This is a mural on a wall in Walthamstow. I thought at first it was the trellis pattern (shown lower on this page) but now I see they aren’t exactly the same.
And then in the parking lot there’s this massive mural of William Morris’s head and shoulders.
Before going into the gallery, we took a walk in the gardens at the back. These are extensive and feature, among other things, this picturesque stream, and a eucalyptus tree.
The building itself is a pleasingly symmetrical Georgian home from the 1700s. The basic building was completed in around 1744. The round bays in the photo were added decades later, according to the Gallery’s website.
Inside there’s a chronological telling of the life of William Morris and his friends and fellow artists. They were a tight and mutually supportive group. Morris started Morris and Company, called “The Firm”, to produce beautiful, functional items for interior design and decoration. The Gallery is full of examples, including some of the famous fabrics, wallpapers, furniture, stained glass, and ceramics.
This trellis wallpaper was a collaborative effort between William Morris and the architect Philip Webb. Webb was a friend who, among other things, designed Morris’s dream home, the Red House.
When I was a kid, I didn’t like this style of drawing, and it seemed to turn up in a lot of books. I thought the bunnies were a bit scary. Now I find them adorable.
One of the labels said that Morris didn’t aim to make the animals, flowers, and birds exactly realistic and biologically accurate.
It shows in some of the bird and flower patterns; you can’t always identify them as a known species. He was trying to convey the sense of the thing rather than to be clinically precise.
Some of the fun of this trip was looking at the old buildings after we left the Gallery. These are a view of The Bell and then Ye Olde Rose and Crown.
I’d go back to the Gallery and also back to Walthamstow.