William Morris, 1834 – 96, is considered one of the most influential designer of the Victorian age.
Between 1848 and 1856 Morris lived with his family at ‘Water House’, a Georgian house in Walthamstow set in its own grounds.Dating from the early 1740s, the house once had a moat which is now a lake, the source of its name.
A later owner of Water House, the publisher Edward Lloyd, gave the property to the local council in 1898, and in 1950 the council opened the building as the William Morris Gallery. The gardens were laid out as a small park, named Lloyd Park.
The museum gives an account of William Morris the writer, poet, pioneer socialist, painter, designer, craftsman and leading exponent of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Exhibits include Morris’s wallpapers, fabrics and furniture. One of the more personal exhibits is the satchel used by Morris to carry Socialist pamphlets.
The galleries upstairs are devoted to associates of Morris and members of the Arts and Crafts movement. Displays include furniture by A H Mackmurdo, tiles by William de Morgan, pottery by the Martin brothers and books published by the Kelmscott Press, which was founded by Morris in 1891.
There is also work by the architect Philip Webb, who designed the Red House at Bexleyheath for Morris in 1859, and paintings by the Pre-Raphaelites Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones.
Other items on display include pictures and sculptures by Rodin, and paintings by Frank Brangwyn, one-time apprentice of Morris.