Curator Talk: William Morris
William Morris devoted his life to creating beautiful and useful objects using the highest-quality materials under fair labor conditions. His richly varied patterns have been reproduced without interruption since his death in 1896, testifying to their timeless appeal. The Cleveland Museum of Art’s collection includes woven and block-printed textiles spanning each stage of Morris’s vibrant career; they are joined in this exhibition by a generous loan from the Cranbrook Art Museum of an embroidery by William Morris’s daughter, May.
Also showcased are magnificent volumes from the Cleveland Museum of Art’s nearly complete collection of books printed by Kelmscott Press. Morris’s meticulously designed books were his final labor of love; indeed, they exhibit the same delight in organic forms and time-tested craftsmanship visible in his textiles. The voices of May Morris, Kate Faulkner, Walter Crane, and Edward Burne-Jones also feature among the projects that Morris so passionately brought to fruition. With Morris & Co. wallpaper and carpet reproductions, the exhibition Designing an Earthly Paradise brings to life Morris’s striking, revolutionary designs.
Vibrantly patterned woven, printed, and embroidered textiles join the museum’s collection of rare Kelmscott Press books in this exhibition exploring William Morris, the Victorian designer and poet who was a pioneer of the Arts and Crafts movement.