William Morris
(1834 – 1896)

William Morris

William Morris was an English textile designer, artist, writer, and socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and English Arts and Crafts Movement. He founded a design firm in partnership with the artist Edward Burne-Jones, and the poet and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti which profoundly influenced the decoration of churches and houses into the early 20th century.


  • so strong is the bond between history and decoration, that in the practices of the latter we cannot, if we would, wholly shake off the influence of the past times over what we do at present

  • Time was when the mystery and wonder of handicrafts were well acknowledged by the world, when imagination and fancy mingled with all things made by man

  • The artist came out of the handicraftsman, and left them without hope of elevation, while he himself was left without the help of intelligent, industrious sympathy

  • .....of the decorative arts....it is not that we are inferior in them to all who have gone before us, but rather that they are in a state of anarchy and disorganisation...

  • ....systematic concentration of our thoughts on the matter of studying of it in all ways, careful and laborious practice of it, and a determination to do nothing but what is known to be good in workmanship and design

  • designing cannot be taught at all in a school

  • there is a great deal of sham work in the world, hurtful to the buyer, more hurtful to the seller, if he only knew it, most hurtful to the maker...

  • I know that the manufacturers (so called) are so set on carrying out competition of cheapness, not of excellence, that they meet the bargain-hunters half way, and cheerfully furnish them with nasty wares at the cheap rate....
  • I have never been in any rich man's house which would not have looked the better for having a bonfire made outside of it of 9/10ths of all that it held

  • ....all art costs time, trouble and thought, and that money is only a counter to represent these things

  • ...the greatest foe to art is luxury, art cannot live in its atmosphere

  • have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful

  • ....if you are lucky enough to be able to use oak, and plenty of it, found your decoration on that, leaving it just as it comes from the plane

  • ....though all rooms should look tidy, and even very tidy, they ought not to look too tidy.......to my mind real art is cheap, even at the price that must be paid for it