Morris and Company _timeline 1861/1939

In arts & craft, movimentos, personagens, William Morris on Novembro 18, 2008 at 8:28 am

In considering the Firm’s products in relation to the pioneering design of men like Jekyll and Godwin, the influence of Morris and Company seems to be out of all proportion to the small number of different objects they produced or to the originality of their designs in all the products except for the textiles and wall-papers. From the very start of his exhibiting career Morris was seen, not without justification, as a careful mediaevalising designer. The criticisms of his style which appeared in The Athenaeum (September 27th 1862), at the time of the International Exhibition in London: “It is to be regretted that Messrs. Morris, Marshall & Faulkner, who unquestionably are successful in applying Art-principles to furniture design, restrict themselves so devotedly to Gothic forms and character”, were echoed a quarter of a century later when the firm’s work was shown at the Jubilee Exhibition in Manchester in 1887. While it is possible to see the 1862 “King Rene’s Honeymoon” cabinet, with its painted panels by Madox Brown, Rossetti, Burne-Jones and Morris himself, and the related desk (cat. no. 3) also designed by J. P. Seddon and also shown in the Gothic Court [at the Great Exhibition of 1851], as High Victorian neo-Gothic pieces in the Pugin-Burges manner, the massive sideboard designed by George Jack (cat. no. 18; not illus.) is a slightly modified version of this elaborate piece) which was the centre-piece of the Firm’s 1887 stand in Manchester has an almost uncanny affinity with Mackmurdo’s designs for the Century Guild stand, which provided a startling aspect of the Exhibition and which are now seen as the starring point uf the Modern Movement.

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Related Material
David Cody’s essay on Morris & Co.

Morris and Company. London: The Fine Art Society, 1979.


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