More William Morris History In Wimbledon

Handwritten note from William Morris's daughter

The “Morrisfication” of William Morris House, moved forward this week when four pictures were hung in the Burne-Jones Room of this community meeting room venue in the heart of Wimbledon. 

Three of the pictures include the original cartoon design of the Fabian window produced by Morris & Co and which is now on display at the LSE library.

A large and rare picture of William Morris, from Morris’s friend Sir Emery Walker, a signed portrait of George Bernard Shaw, have both given to the house.

Perhaps as exciting, is the discovery and display of the fourth picture - a handwritten note from Morris’s daughter (see right) who was Head of Embroidery at Morris & Co works at Merton Abbey Mills in south Wimbledon.

The note sent to William Morris House nearly 80 years ago was found pasted to the back of the picture of Morris. It advised William Morris House how to obtain from Emery Walker this original picture of Morris. May Morris was a celebrated designer in her own right and the note is written on headed note paper sent from Morris’s house Kelmscott Manor in Gloucestershire.

Councillor Peter Walker, Chair of the co-operative which manages William Morris House on The Broadway, said: "This display builds on our aim not only to successfully manage our community meeting rooms, but also build on the rich artistic legacy which William Morris bought to Wimbledon when he set up his world renowned works at Merton Abbey Mills in the late nineteenth century.”

"It has always been our ambition to display our treasures for those visiting the house.  These pictures complement the two Burne-Jones windows that Morris gave to the family of a local suffragette Emily Townshend and which can also be seen in the Burne-Jones Room.”

The House was purchased In 1922 and opened by the Rt Hon Arthur Henderson as a centre for the community to meet.  A number of workers from Morris & Co were involved at the time and chose to re-name the house, William Morris House.

Those attending the fifth William Morris lecture on Thursday 17th September 2015 on William Wilberforce and slavery to be given by Rt Hon Frank Field MP will be able to view the pictures. Others wishing to view these treasures should contact house administrator Caspar on 0208 542 3049.

September 11, 2015

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Note from May Morris