William Morris (1834–1896) was one of the most gifted and prolific artists of the Victorian period in British history, and on the anniversary of his birth (24 March), why not spend a few homeschool minutes introducing your students to his beautiful designs.
The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has an extensive collection of Morris productions — it’s a perfect place to visit with your artistically or historically inclined students:
Morris was a polymath who wrote novels and poetry, designed textiles and stained glass windows, and established a press that produced some of the most beautiful books of the nineteenth century. His designs for fabrics, carpets, and wallpaper continue to be popular more than a century after his death.
One of the 19th century’s most famous names, William Morris is still renowned today as the designer of patterns such as ‘Willow Bough’ and ‘Strawberry Thief’. But his wallpapers and textiles are only part of the story. Through developing many other products and working on interiors schemes (including one for the V&A’s own café), Morris also mastered many other areas of design – as well as finding time to be a social activist and celebrated author. (vam.ac.uk)
“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful,” Morris wrote. That’s a worthy aspiration for us all. And if you want something in your house that is both educationally useful and beautiful, what could be better than a William Morris coloring book!
What artistic discoveries have you made in your homeschool lately?
❡ Explore more: For a brief homeschool overview of the Victorian period in British history, to which William Morris belongs, turn to pages 348–349 in your recommended River Houses history encyclopedia (riverhouses.org/books).