William Morris Gallery

Art galleries

History and culture museums

Walthamstow

  • Free
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William Morris Gallery

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Venue details

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  • Address:

    William Morris Gallery
    William Morris Gallery Forest Road
    London
    E17 4PP

  • Venue phone:

    020 8496 4390

  • Venue website:

    www.wmgallery.org.uk

  • Transport:

    Tube: Walthamstow Central

  • Map

    1. William Morris Gallery
      • William Morris Gallery
        Forest Road
        London
        E17 4PP
      • 020 8496 4390
      • www.wmgallery.org.uk
      • 51.590586,-0.018548

What's on at William Morris Gallery

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Alke Schmidt: Tangled Yarns

Textiles

  • Free

The artist explores the politics and morality of the textile industry and the cotton trade, from the 18th century to the present day. Each piece incorporates a different fabric, chosen for its association with the story being told and used as a canvas,...

Alke Schmidt: Tangled Yarns
  1. Thu Dec 18 – Sun Jan 25 2015
  2. William Morris Gallery
  3. free
More info

Rossetti's Obsession

Painting

  • Free

A series of compelling images of Jane Morris by Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who favored the model, showing a contrast between her life as a model and her life beyond the paintings.

Rossetti's Obsession
  1. Thu Dec 18 – Sun Jan 4 2015
  2. William Morris Gallery
  3. free
More info

Torn Justice

Textiles

  1. Thu Dec 18 – Sun Jan 25 2015
  2. William Morris Gallery
  3. free
More info

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LiveReviews|3
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Jim Newcombe

WILLIAM MORRIS IN WALTHAMSTOW Born in Walthamstow in 1834, William Morris lived as a growing boy in the grade II* listed building that is now the site for this splendid gallery. Renovated and revitalized in 2012, this museum won the £100,000 Art Fund prize of 2013, and justly so. The present building simultaneously retains the workshop element while appealing to a contemporary audience. Morris worked in so many media that the architects and designers would have been spoilt for choice in terms of decorative and illuminated works. The garden too is a delight to saunter in on a summer’s day, its organized designs mirroring the patterns and motifs in his handiwork, with a bridge over a willowy moat where fluffy new broods paddle. Morris thought that the great Victorian John Ruskin’s The Nature of Gothic was one of the few indispensible works of the age; the book changed his life and predetermined the path he would pursue with fastidious dedication. He set out, in his own admission, with the arrogance of youth to change the world with beauty. Believing he belonged to a bygone age that was true to a higher standard, he set about elaborating works that he hoped might be stimulating and edifying in his own time. Inevitably and necessarily, his vision of life became politicized into socialism as he sought for a better society for the exploited lower classes. This museum offers substantial insights into his concerns and his legacy, together with glimpses and sprinklings of appetizing nuggets of biography, covering his upbringing, his influences, his muses, his friendships and collaborations with the likes of Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. I am uneasy spending too many hours within any four walls – and the last time I visited Walthamstow it was to spend a night in the cells – but if I am to spend time indoors I would prefer it to be in a place like this, where there is a sense of being in the open air, figured in the elaborate interlacings of tendril and vine, fluent and linear arabesques of organized vegetation, printed and woven fabrics and tapestries, the timeless symbolism of sunlit legends depicted in coloured glass and cut wood. This insistence on exemplary craftsmanship and truth to materials have elsewhere sustained our Englishry in the works of artists like Eric Gill and Henry Moore, who steadfastly resisted the commercial mechanization of modern industry. The selections of William Morris’s work exhibited here prove, in my estimation, that patient craftsmanship of this calibre singlehandedly exposes much of the footling and fraudulent art of today as bluff and scam, morally and aesthetically bankrupt by comparison. To say that much of the work here is decorative is no denigration, for in Morris’s assured hands the process is lifted to a platform that puts it on a platform par excellence. A visit to this impressive museum is a thoroughly absorbing experience.

Louise

An absolute gem in the newly re-opened Lloyd Park. A fan of William Morris’ work, I decided to take the family out to the gallery and was delighted to see how it had changed since the multi-million pound, Heritage Lottery-funded renovation. The house itself is just stunning (and there’s even a very respectable café, serving decent coffees, with views across the park) and has been restored to its Georgian beauty. The galleries are well-ordered and offer something for all ages. Although I would have loved even fuller information about the social reformer, poet, designer and craftsman, the house fits in as much as it can and – anyway – I was far too busy making brass rubbings and practising weaving with my young son! Thoroughly recommended for a morning/afternoon out and a great opportunity to discover this exciting part of east London.