An Instagram notice this month couldn’t make me happier. William Morris (24 March 1834-3 October 1896) is coming to town. His artwork has always been an inspiration to me. Walls filled with explosions of flowers. From 18 March to 6 August 2017 his bulb flower prints are on show at the Museum De Zwarte Tulp in Lisse. This museum about bulb flowers is definitely worth a visit and just around the corner of the famous Keukenhof.
A man with many specialties
William Morris was a man of great and varied talents. He was social progressive and a voluble Socialist, associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the English Arts and Crafts Movement, art theorist, fine art printer and publisher. He was a genius of strong opinions, stronger enthusiasms, and unquenchable energy.
Floral designs changed interior design
William Morris founded the Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain and designed some of the most recognizable textile patterns of the nineteenth century. He designed complexed, balanced, intricately repetitive floral patterns. His designs have aged gracefully; they are as elegant today as when they came off the drawing table.
In 1861 he and a few friends started the decorating business Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. which provided beautiful, hand crafted products and furnishings for the home. Morris was motivated by the desire to provide affordable ‘art for all’. The wallpapers and fabrics became very popular in English interiors in the 19th century and are still sold worldwide by The Morris & Co.
Whatever you have in your rooms think first of the walls; for they are that which makes your house and home – William Morris
Inspired by botanics
Inspiration for his designs he found in books, museum collections and his garden. In his library he had several illustrated 16th century books about plants. Woodcut prints of plants from Dodaneus, Fuchs, Mattioli, Gerarde and Parkinson will be on view at the Print Room during the exhibition.
He also liked to visit South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria & Albert Museum in London) to study designs from Turkey and Persia and the Islamic influences on flowers.
From 1871-1896 Kelmscott Manor was Morris’s summer retreat from the pressures and smog of London. The architecture, history landscape, flora and fauna of Kelmscott had a profound effect on Morris, his designs and his thinking.
Modern Arts & Crafts
Parallel to the Morris exhibition Hilde Strijdveen and Marleen de Valk (two alumni of the Willem de Kooning Academy Rotterdam) show their modern interpretation of Arts & Crafts with their installations.