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

On June 26th, 2021, our colleagues at The William Morris Society in the United States are organizing International Kelmscott Press Day, a celebration commemorating the 130th anniversary of the founding of the Kelmscott Press and the 125th anniversary of the publication of the Press’s edition of The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer.

Libraries, museums, and other institutions that own the Kelmscott Chaucer or other Kelmscott titles and related materials are encouraged to create digital and in-person displays, host activities such as talks and printing demonstrations, commission and show work by contemporary book artists and printers, or create any other type of event or content they think appropriate for the occasion. View the full schedule of online and in-person events here.

We are delighted to co-host an online lecture with the Institute of English Studies at the University of London. Learn more and book here. And do have a look at the Senate House Library blog which celebrates this anniversary, The Book Beautiful: Celebrating William Morris’ Kelmscott Press.

Individuals are also encouraged to follow along and share their love for the Kelmscott Press!

You can join in the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #KelmscottPressDay

The Society is currently recruiting for two posts:

A Weekend Duty Manager

A Museum Officer (Learning & Engagement)

You can find full details of each role including how to apply here.

The closing date for both posts is 29 June.

We are delighted that The William Morris Society’s museum will reopen on Saturday afternoons from 12 June.

There will be a number of measures in place to ensure the safety of our visitors, volunteers and staff, and we recommend that you book your visit in advance as capacity will be limited.

You can find out more here.

Do you have a few hours to spare? As we prepare for reopening our museum, we’re looking for volunteers who enjoy working with the public. If you have an interest in heritage, craft or design, or just want to meet new friends or learn new skills, we’d love to hear from you!

Visit our Volunteer page for more information.

Were Morris’s wallpapers responsible for poisoning his Victorian followers? And did he profit from his connection with the production of arsenic by Devon Great Consols?

This blog scrutinises the facts and urban myths behind these accusations.

William Morris and arsenic

We are delighted to announce the launch of our online exhibition “The Ideal Book”: William Morris and the Kelmscott Press. The exhibition is a key part the Society’s 2021 celebrations, marking 130 years since the founding of Morris’s Kelmscott Press and 125 years since the publication of the Kelmscott Chaucer.

This exhibition explores Morris’s venture in book printing and showcases a number of rarely seen, objects from the Society’s Kelmscott Press collection. Visit the exhibition here.

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!