1834–1896

Introduction

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Born: March 24, 1834, Wal­tham­stow, Eng­land.

Died: Oc­to­ber 3, 1896, Kelms­cott House, Ham­mer­smith, Eng­land.

Buried: St. George church­yard, Kelm­scott, Ox­ford­shire, Eng­land.

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Biography

Morris was a tex­tile de­sign­er, ar­tist, writ­er, and li­ber­tar­i­an so­cial­ist as­so­ci­at­ed with the Pre-Ra­pha­el­ite Bro­ther­hood and the Eng­lish Arts and Crafts Move­ment.

He found­ed a de­sign firm in part­ner­ship with art­ist Ed­ward Burne-Jones, and po­et and ar­tist Dan­te Ga­bri­el Ros­set­ti, which pro­found­ly in­flu­enced the de­co­ra­tion of church­es and hous­es in­to the ear­ly 20th Cen­tu­ry.

He was al­so a ma­jor con­trib­ut­or to re­viv­ing tra­di­tion­al tex­tile arts and me­thods of pro­duc­tion, and helped found the So­ci­e­ty for the Pro­tect­ion of An­cient Build­ings, now a sta­tu­to­ry el­e­ment in his­tor­ic build­ing pre­ser­va­tion in Bri­tain.

As an au­thor, il­lus­trat­or and med­ie­val­ist, he helped es­tab­lish the mo­dern fan­ta­sy genre, and was a di­rect in­flu­ence on post­war au­thors such as J. R. R. Tol­kien (The Hob­bit and Lord of the Rings).

Morris wrote and pub­lished po­et­ry, fic­tion, and trans­la­tions of an­cient and med­ie­val texts through­out his life.

He was an im­port­ant fi­gure in the emer­gence of so­cial­ism in Bri­tain, found­ing the So­cial­ist League in 1884, but break­ing with that or­gan­i­za­tion ov­er goals and me­thods by the end of the de­cade.

He de­voted much of the rest of his life to the Kelms­cott Press, which he found­ed in 1891. Kelms­cott was de­vot­ed to pub­lish­ing lim­it­ed edi­tion, il­lum­i­nat­ed style print books; its 1896 ed­i­tion of the Works of Geof­frey Chau­cer is con­si­dered a mas­ter­piece of book de­sign.

Morris’ works in­clude:

Lyrics