Friday, 15 February 2019

Discover how the Thames influenced William Morris

Discover how the Thames influenced William Morris

A NEW exhibition at the River & Rowing Museum in Henley focuses on the connection between artist William Morris and the River Thames.

An Earthly Paradise: William Morris and the Thames opens today (Friday) and features a new selection of his works.

Highlights include a series of textiles alongside his original hand-drawn designs, a signed copy of News from Nowhere and his personal fishing tackle and spectacles.

Morris is associated with the British Arts and Crafts Movement and was a major contributor to the revival of traditional British textile arts and methods of production.

His literary contributions helped to establish the modern fantasy genre, while he also played a significant role in promoting the early socialist movement in Britain.

Indeed, materials from the Morris & Co workshop illustrate the production process, while socialist pamphlets that Morris penned and published demonstrate his deep commitment to socialism in later life.

But it was the influence of the Thames and its tributaries that was ever-present throughout his life and work. The river provided the setting for his leisure time spent angling and boating, inspiration for his designs and writing, and the ideal water conditions for the manufacture of his textiles.

One notable Thames boat trip from his London home via Henley to his rural retreat in Oxfordshire was so moving that it inspired his utopia novel, News from Nowehere.

The exhibition, which runs until July 14, has been brought together with loans from the V&A Museum, the William Morris gallery, the British Library and elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the latest art exhibition from students at The Henley College in the community gallery is in its final week.

This debut exhibition showcases their works made in a variety of media and is open daily until next Thursday (February 7).

For more information, visit

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