William Morris: Designing an Earthly Paradise

29 October 2017–11 November 2018

Exhibition Overview

Cleveland Museum of Art_William Morris

William Morris devoted his life to creating beautiful and useful objects using the highest-quality materials under fair labor conditions. His richly varied patterns have been reproduced without interruption since his death in 1896, testifying to their timeless appeal. The Cleveland Museum of Art’s collection includes woven and block-printed textiles spanning each stage of Morris’s vibrant career; they are joined in this exhibition by a generous loan from the Cranbrook Art Museum of an embroidery by William Morris’s daughter, May.

Also showcased are magnificent volumes from the Cleveland Museum of Art’s nearly complete collection of books printed by Kelmscott Press. Morris’s meticulously designed books were his final labor of love; indeed, they exhibit the same delight in organic forms and time-tested craftsmanship visible in his textiles. The voices of May Morris, Kate Faulkner, Walter Crane, and Edward Burne-Jones also feature among the projects that Morris so passionately brought to fruition. With Morris & Co. wallpaper and carpet reproductions, the exhibition Designing an Earthly Paradise brings to life Morris’s striking, revolutionary designs.

Presenting Sponsors: Emma and Cathy Lincoln

(Photo: Strawberry Thief, design registered 1883. William Morris (British, 1834–1896). Indigo-discharged cotton: plain weave, block printed; 88.2 x 99 cm. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Henry Chisholm, 1937.696)

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