William Morris was the father of the movement that encouraged handcrafted articles against low-quality machine-made items. The movement had reached its peak of influence between 1860 to 1910. London, which was his home has an array of attractions for Morris fans. He was an artist, a writer and a prolific campaigner, who campaigned against industrialization, enlightening people of its evil repercussions.
William Morris Gallery, a free art museum, houses in its nine rooms relics and artifacts of the movement. These exquisite creations had become a part and parcel of many posh Victorian homes. The gallery reopened in 2012 after a two year closure for refurbishment. It is beautiful Georgian villa in Walthamstow’s Lloyd Park in northeast London where Morris lived for eight years till the age of 22, experimenting with art. More than 50 years after his death in 1896, the house was transformed into this gallery. One can see the unique Morris creations like dense patterns of lush foliage and the highly decorative tapestries, furniture and stained glass windows that became the backbone of Morris & Co that he founded in 1860.
The Red House was the house designed by Morris and decorated with his creations and artistic prowess. It was thrown open to Morris fans in 2003. It is situated in the southeastern London suburb of Bexleyheath and was completed in 1860 and was described by Morris as “the palace of art” and had to be sold by a heartbroken Morris only after five years to yield to financial pressure. It is a fusion of his love for gothic grandeur and his own creativity.
Victoria & Albert Museum is a free-entry museum located at South Kensington. It houses an extensive collection of Morris’ work like wallpaper, furnishings, tiles and tapestries. Morris and Co. was commissioned to create the museum’s Green Dining Room which is now a walk-through exhibit of lush forest-hued wallpaper and painted wood-paneling and elegant stained glass windows.
London’s Geffrye Museum in East London is another free entry Museum. A row of 18th-century almshouses were transformed into the museum. There are 13 antique-line living rooms exhibiting 400 years of home interiors among which the 1890 room has some Morrisian exhibits and décor and the 1910 room is a hallmark of some real Arts and Crafts. There is a Morris & Co chair in the hallway.
Kelmscott House in Hammersmith was Morris’s last London house. At present, it is a private residence. This pretty Georgian mansion on the banks of the River Thames was leased by him in 1878. The William Morris Society occupies its small coach house and its exhibition space is open to the public on Thursday and Saturday afternoons. The collection holds a printing press that Morris used in producing some of the most beautifully illustrated books including his famous Kelmscott edition of the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer.