of William Morris at last

Today we went to Exeter, Oxford’s fourth oldest college (1314) for a walk and a tour from a friend who is a lecturer there. Entered from Turl Street, Exeter is a little gem in the middle of the city. One of its alumni is author J. R. R. Tolkien and another is William Morris, the famed Pre-Raphaelite artist, who was up in the 1850s. His tapestries grace the chapel and the “Morris Room,” which we were able to enter due to the kindness of our friend.

I have loved Morris’s textile work for a long time. There is something so distinctive about his designs, I’d know him anywhere. The chapel altar is clothed with one of his better-known patterns:

And these tapestries cover the walls:

Even the fireplace tiles in the Morris Room are one of his patterns:

I prefer it as a textile, but isn’t the pattern beautiful?

Morris said of his years at Oxford: “Oxford in those days still kept a great deal of its earlier loveliness: and the memory of its grey streets as they were then has been an abiding influence and pleasure in my life . . .”

(David Horan. Oxford: A Cultural and Literary History, 1999.)

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4 Responses to of William Morris at last

  1. Sam Cohen says:

    Glad you enjoyed it. By the way, were those sketches signed EBJ? If so, they are probably Edward Burne Jones.

  2. Mert Tabbut says:

    OH Betsy, Laura has that fabric. She ordered it from England. Her first year in Oxford was studying the Pre-Raphaelites. We loved the Ashmolean and the Oxford Museum of Natural History. The design for the natural history museum was influenced by John Ruskin another Pre-Raphaelite.

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