William Morris was a man of tremendous energies, his accomplishments astonishing in their range and depth. He became successively a poet, embroiderer, pattern designer, calligrapher, dyer, weaver, translator, architectural preservationist, socialist, and book publisher and printer. As the head of the internationally successful Morris & Company, he devoted himself to the decorative arts. His influence was wide and long-lasting, on both sides of the Atlantic.
In this book William Morris the man, and ‘The Firm’, are considered by Pat Kirkham, of the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture in New York. British design after Morris is surveyed by Gillian Naylor, an established authority on nineteenth- and twentieth-century design and Edward R. Bosley, Director of the Gamble House in Pasadena, California, looks at Morris and American Arts and Crafts. These essays frame detailed studies by Diane Waggoner of Morris’s stained glass, interior decoration designs and book publishing ventures, and of his successor at Morris & Company, J. H. Dearle.
The Beauty of Life draws upon the rich holdings of The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, which with the recent acquisition of a major William Morris collection, including fine printed books and the archive of Morris & Company, has become one of the outstanding centres for Morris study in the world.