Craft and Natural Splendor: A Love Letter to William Morris
Look familiar? You may have noticed these prints from our William Morris Collection. Who was he? Morris was one of the most celebrated designers of the 19th century, who changed the arts and crafts movement in the U.K. and revolutionized Victorian tastes. Born into a wealthy middle class family in the London suburb of Walthemstow, Morris loved to read, fish, and hike, demonstrating early a passion for the natural world that he would carry throughout his life. He went on to study classics at Oxford University, where he was exposed to medievalism, an influence that permeates all of his work. Though he studied architecture at Oxford this did not stop him from experimenting and working in different fields of design.
In 1861 Morris formed the decorative arts firm Morris, Marshall & Faulkner &Co. with Burne-Jones, Rosetti, Webb, and other contemporaries. Their work had a profound influence upon interior decoration of the Victorian era. Morris’ portfolio included designing tapestries, wallpaper, fabrics, furniture and stained glass windows. Morris’ creative genius was not limited to the visual arts, however, he was also a poet and novelist publishing his work through the Kelmscott Press, following in the footsteps of other masters like Chaucer and Shakespeare.
He held high standards in the quality of the objects he used in his compositions, and rejected the newly burgeoning industrial systems that produced poor quality goods. A champion of hand made craftsmanship, Charles Mallory pays homage to these values by judging everything we do and make against this high, uncompromising standard.
Well known for his textiles, Morris was inspired by the way Middle Eastern and Indian textiles were produced, especially the use of natural dyes and materials over synthetic or chemical ones. He admired the richness of naturally derived colours and revived the use of natural dye in the U.K., which was fast disappearing, with the onset of fast and industrialized chemical production. Read our story to see how we incorporate these build values into everything we do at Charles Mallory London.
The rigour of his work ethic, the vibrancy and vim of his designs, the nearly unachievable standard of perfection he measured himself against, all of these made him an obvious choice for a Charles Mallory collection. Strawberry Thief, Honeysuckle and Golden Lily are fun, floral inspired prints, which are perfect for the spring season. When I open my Golden Lily compact, I am letting the world know that I see beauty that others overlook. A touch of romanticism in one’s life goes a long way.
Authored by Vanessa Dos Santos (@mozwrites) in collaboration with William J.C. Parry (@charlesmallorylondon).