Arthur Halcrow Verstage and Women’s Guild of Arts Archives Collections at the William Morris Society.
1: The Arthur Halcrow Verstage Archive Collection
In 2005, the William Morris Society acquired part of a collection of papers relating to the life and work of Architect Arthur Halcrow Verstage (1875-1969). He was the founding Secretary, along with Fred Tallant, of the Kelmscott Fellowship (forerunner of The William Morris Society). He was a devotee of William Morris, and he collected large amounts of material relating to Morris and his daughter May Morris, whom he knew personally. In 1934, he was involved in the William Morris Centenary with the Kelmscott Fellowship.
The Verstage Collection acquired by the Society, consists of four main categories of papers: The Kelmscott Fellowship, the Life and Work of William Morris, Morris Centenary, and correspondence with May Morris as well as photographs and glass plate negatives.
This collection is being catalogued by our Archivist, Michele Losse and a team of trained volunteers. The catalogue will be available for viewing on line in the Autumn, with some images of documents contained within the collection, and open by appointment to bona fide researchers.
In the meantime, check our blogs and Social Media for an insight into the gems contained within the collection.
2: The Women’s Guild of Arts Collection
The Women’s Guild of Arts was founded by May Morris (1862-1938), who remained President until 1935, and Mary Elizabeth Turner (1854 – 1938), in reaction to the lack of organisations specifically for female artists and crafts people.
It was aimed strictly at women who were seriously engaged as craft workers and designers in the arts and was based on the lines of the then exclusively male Art Worker’s Guild. Its objectives were to be a professional organisation where members could discuss and exhibit their work, learn about arts and crafts outside their circle, as well as forming a social function.
This collection was acquired by the Society from the great nephew of Mary Annie Sloane, Christopher Moore. Mary Sloane left her house to Christopher Moore and he discovered the papers of the Women Guild of Arts within the house and presented it to the William Morris Society.
This collection is also being catalogued and we will also be writing blogs and using social media to promote some of the items found in the Archives.
Part of a letter from May Morris to Mary Sloane regarding the promotion of Arts and Crafts to the wider general public, ‘we feel that there are a body of men with great power in their hands (having the public hear largely dictated by taste)’, dated 5 Jan 1916′. Ref WGA_2_6b.