“The Beauty of Life”: William Morris and the Art of Design

Thursday, October 14, 2004
Sunday, January 2, 2005

William Morris’s place in the history of nineteenth-century design was examined in this exhibition of almost two hundred works drawn primarily from the rich collections of The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. Focused particularly on the work of William Morris’s decorative arts firm, Morris & Company, the display featured original designs for stained glass, wallpaper, textiles, embroidery, and tapestry. A spectacular stained glass window, eighteen feet high and designed by Morris’s partner and lifelong friend Edward Burne-Jones, was on view in the Center’s Entrance Court. The exhibition also examined Morris’s printing venture, the Kelmscott Press, with a selection of designs and books published by the press, many chosen from the Center’s own collections.

“The Beauty of Life”: William Morris and the Art of Design was organized by The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. The exhibition was curated by Diane Waggoner, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Curatorial Fellow at The Huntington. The in-house curator at the Center was Elisabeth Fairman, Curator of Rare Books & Manuscripts.

 

William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, title page (detail), letterpress and wood engravings, from The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer (Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1896), Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection


Venues

The Huntington Library, Art Collections,
and Botanical Gardens: November 8, 2003–April 4, 2004

Yale Center for British Art:
October 14, 2004–January 2, 2005