William Morris (1834-1896) first book of verse was The Defence of Guenevere in 1858.
In 1862 he founded a firm for the manufacture of furniture, wallpapers, and the like, and in 1890 he set up the Kelmscott Press to print beautifully decorated books. The prose romances A Dream of John Ball in 1888 and News from Nowhere in 1891 reflect his socialist ideology. He also lectured on socialism.
William Morris was born in Walthamstow, London, and educated at Oxford, where he formed a lasting friendship with the Pre-Raphaelite artist Burne-Jones and was influenced bv the art critic Ruskin and the painter and poet Rossetti.
He abandoned his first profession, architecture, to study painting, but had a considerable influence on such architects as Lethaby and Phil
ip Webb. A founder of the Arts and Crafts movement, Morris did much to raise British craft standards.
He published several volumes of verse romances, notably The Life and Death of Jason in 1867 and The Earthly Paradise (1868-1870); a visit to Iceland in 1871 inspired Sigurd the Volsung in 1876 and general interest in the sagas. He joined the Social Democratic Federation in 1883, but left it in 1884 because he found it too moderate, and set up the Socialist League. To this period belong the critical and sociological studies Signs of Change in 1888 and Hopes and Fears for Art in 1892.
Why is William Morris famous?
William Morris was a English designer, socialist, and poet, who shared the Pre-Raphaelite painters' fascination with medieval settings.
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