Anarchy and Beauty: William Morris and his Legacy by Fiona MacCarthy

Anarchy & beauty: William Morris & his legacy, 1860-1960Anarchy & beauty: William Morris & his legacy, 1860-1960

MacCarthy, Fiona, author; National Portrait Gallery (Great Britain), publisher

William Morris (1834-96) regarded beauty as a basic human birthright. In this fascinating book, which accompanies a major exhibition, Morris’ biographer Fiona MacCarthy looks at how his highly original and generous vision of a new form of society in which art could flourish has reverberated through the decades.

In 1860 Morris moved into the now famous Red House at Bexleyheath in Kent. Here his ideas found practical expression in its decoration, undertaken with the help of his artistcraftsman friends Edward Burne-Jones, Ford Madox Brown and Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Anarchy & Beauty at the National Portrait Gallery is the tie in exhibition which explores the life and ideas of the great Victorian artist, writer and visionary thinker through portraits, personal items and fascinating objects, many of which are on public display for the first time,. This major exhibition illustrates Morris’s concept of ‘art for the people’ and highlights the achievements of those that he inspired.

Curated by acclaimed author and biographer Fiona MacCarthy, the display features original furniture and textiles designed and owned by Morris as well as the work of his contemporaries including Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones. These are innovatively showcased alongside remarkable books, jewellery, ceramics and clothing by craftspeople such as Eric Gill, Bernard Leach and Terence Conran, demonstrating how Morris’s legacy continued into the twentieth century, influencing radical politics, the Garden City movement and the Festival of Britain in 1951.