The Beauty of Life

William Morris & the Art of Design


A collection of essays reflecting on William Morris the man, and his work within Morris & Co.

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ISBN: 9780500284346 Category:


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.

Additional information

Weight 804 g
Dimensions 21.6 x 27.7 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 2 October 2003
Number of pages 176
Format Paperback / softback
Contributors Edited by Diane Waggoner
Dimensions 21.6 x 27.7 cm
Weight 804 g

Diane Waggoner is curator of 19th-century Photographs in the Department of Photography at the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Pat Kirkam has been Professor at The Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design and Culture since 1996. In 2004 she became Visiting Professor at Kingston University at the Centre for the Study of the Modern Interior.