Perpetuating the memory of one of the greatest men of the Victorian age

If you missed our first ‘Coffee with a Curator’ event on Tuesday 19 January, you can catch the recording of the talk here. This talk explores William Morris’s ‘new and lighter design’ for the Oxford Union Ceiling.

Morris made his debut as a painter during the ‘jovial campaign’ of 1857 to help decorate the walls of the Oxford Union debating hall. However, three stunning watercolours in the Society’s collection for the re-decoration of the ceiling shed light on this lesser-known aspect of the now infamous scheme. We will hear of the artists and their paintings illustrating scenes from Arthurian legend and look at contemporary descriptions of the original ceiling before focusing on the Society’s designs for the ceiling re-decoration; beautiful repeat patterns which have been praised as ‘a tribute to the genius of Morris’.

Check back on the website soon to book on to next month’s Coffee with a Curator and explore some more fascinating objects from our collection.

Would you like to find out more about the fascinating objects held in The William Morris Society’s collection?

Our new monthly ‘Coffee with a Curator’ events will give you the chance to meet Curator Helen Elletson and take a closer look at some of the precious objects we hold and their significance in the story of the Arts & Crafts movement.

So put on the kettle, make yourself a cuppa, and enjoy learning about William Morris and his circle!

These informal talks will be held on Zoom and are free to attend, but you do need to book your ticket in advance. See the Events page for more information.


On Wednesday 9 December, Arts and Crafts Hammersmith (a collaboration between The William Morris Society and The Emery Walker Trust) hosted a fiendishly difficult virtual quiz about the people and places of Hammersmith’s past.

If you missed it, you can still watch the video here, so gather your team for some festive fun and learn some new facts about Hammersmith. The quiz is free, but donations through our website are welcome. Thank you for your support!


William Morris: Wallpaper Man is an exhibition of new work that responds to the legacy of William Morris. The work has been created by The Storybox Collective, a group of artists, designers, illustrators and writers working together to apply a serendipitous approach to collaborative making.

Click Here to see Highlights of this exhibition project.

10th November 2020

The Historic Buildings, Parks and Gardens Event, which has been running for over 35 years is held in parallel with the Historic Houses Annual General Meeting. Visitors to the Event are owners and guardians of historic buildings (private, commercial, industrial, Grade I listed buildings, cathedrals, churches, manor houses, windmills, historic town centres), parks and gardens – their management staff, their advisers and a range of professionals. The Event creates a unique and unrivalled promotional opportunity for companies offering products and services involved in the care, repair and conservation of historic buildings, and their surrounding landscapes.


  • Virtual Exhibition of specialist services providers
  • Video links for Historic Houses Presidents address
  • Variety of video demonstrations
  • Details of exhibitors products and services
  • Access to support and advice
  • Bonus digital version of the Exhibition Guide to view & download

Free to register. Find out more here.

The Stockinger – Mary Annie Sloane

A pencil drawing of a weaver working at a frame on paper drawn by Mary Annie Sloane ARE (1867-1961). Mary Annie Sloane ARE was an artist known for etching and painting. She was a member of the Women’s Guild of Arts and a close lifelong friend of May Morris. Sloane was known for creating works that captured the real labourers and conditions in the garment industry.

The Roycroft Campus, The Ruskin Society of North America, and The Guild of St. George (founded by Ruskin in the 1870s in the UK), have come together to collaborate on an exciting series of virtual talks titled “Ruskin, Roycroft, and the Arts and Crafts Movement” that will be take place on five successive Saturdays this October: October 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31. The first two gatherings will feature two internationally known Ruskin specialists: on October 3, Professor Jim Spates will speak on “From Rouen to Roycroft: John Ruskin and the Birth of the Arts and Crafts Movement”; on the following Saturday, Dr. Peter Burman will provide a “Scottish Perspective on Ruskin’s Influence on the Arts and Crafts Movement in the United Kingdom.” Subsequent Saturdays will feature a history of how Elbert Hubbard’s vision and energy established the Movement in North America, and illustrated talks by artists-in-residence at The Roycroft Campus, who will speak on the vital importance of drawing, photography, writing, and creative book-making in the modern world.

Sessions will be held using the Zoom format and all talks will be followed by a Question and Answer session. Registration for the Conference is $50 per person, which covers all five weeks (eight presentations). For more information on the topics and speakers and to register please visit the Roycroft Campus website at: and click on the “Ruskin Roycroft Conference” banner.

For a direct link, click here:

Wey textile (on velvet)

This textile was produced in 1883 using the surface block printing method at Merton Abbey. The piece is a printed velveteen textile depicting a branch design of diagonally meandering stems with acanthus leaves and unopened chrysanthemum flowers, and with large red and yellow chrysanthemum open flowerheads, on a red background.

The pattern was designed by Morris in response to a 15th century velvet acquired by the South Kensington Museum in 1883. A strong diagonal pattern was typical of his wallpaper and textile designs around this period. It is one of 13 textile designs by Morris named after tributaries of the River Thames.

Design for ‘Windrush’ chintz, by William Morris, 1881. Pencil, pen, ink and watercolour on paper. Inscribed ‘Windrush chintz, 3 block white, brown, blue’.

Windrush is a complex design depicting vertically meandering stems with large flower-heads, overlapping with the scrolling foliage and flower-heads of a smaller plant on a blue background. Morris would draw in black ink from the original design to outline one unit of the repeat. The design was then translated into wood by block-cutters, with the narrower lines made in metal to ensure durability during printing. Textiles were produced by a similar block printing process.

Like many of Morris’s later designs for both wallpaper and fabric it shows a strong diagonal bias, perhaps influenced by the design of a seventeenth century Italian cut velvet at South Kensington Museum. The design also introduces what Morris called the ‘inhabited leaf’, a floral pattern within a flower or leaf, derived from Middle Eastern art and the medieval textiles influenced by it.

Windrush was one of thirteen designs named after tributaries of the Thames, the river which was a source of inspiration for Morris and linked his two homes Kelmscott House in Hammersmith, London and Kelmscott Manor in Oxfordshire. Morris’s daughter May claimed Windrush was “named in memory of pleasant summer journeys along the Windrush valley”.

This design, together with a sample of Windrush printed linen, features in our current online exhibition, Highlights from The William Morris Society’s Collection.

The William Morris Society is carrying out a survey to better understand who our digital audiences are and how digital audiences are engaging with arts and culture online, more generally.

The survey should take no longer than 5 minutes to complete and your input will help us to evaluate the impact of our digital work and help us understand how people’s consumption of online arts and culture have been changed by COVID-19.

Anything you tell us will be kept confidential, is anonymous and will only be used for research purposes. The information you provide will be held by The William Morris Society and The Audience Agency, who are running the survey on our behalf. In compliance with GDPR, your data will be stored securely and will only be used for the purposes it was given.

You can complete the survey here.

Thank you for your help, and stay safe and well.