Biography of William Morris Author 1834-1896

On 24 Mar 1834 William Morris Author 1834-1896 was born.

From 1844 Edward Coley Burne-Jones Painter Baronet 1833-1898 (10) attended King Edward VI Grammar School. From 1848 to 1852 Edward Coley Burne-Jones Painter Baronet 1833-1898 (18) attended Birmingham School of Art after which he studied theology at Exeter College where he became a friend of William Morris Author 1834-1896 (9), where, together with a group of friends they became known as the Birmingham Set who formed a society "The Brotherhood".

1870. George Frederick Watts 1817-1904. Portrait of Edward Coley Burne-Jones Painter Baronet 1833-1898.

Letters of Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1857. In Feb 1857 Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882 (28) wrote to William Bell Scott Painter 1811-1890 (46):

Two young men, projectors of the "Oxford and Cambridge Magazine," have recently come up to town from Oxford, and are now very intimate friends of mine. Their names are Morris (22) and Jones (23). They have turned artists instead of taking up any other career to which the university generally leads, and both are men of real genius. Jones’s designs are marvels of finish and imaginative detail, unequalled by anything unless perhaps Albert Durer’s finest works’ (W. B. Scott, Memoirs, ii. 37).

1871. George Frederick Watts 1817-1904. Portrait of Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. 1853. William Holman Hunt Painter 1827-1910. Portrait of Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones 1860. After 09 Jun 1860. It was quite clear that we must give up Paris and get to our own home as soon as the doctor gave Edward leave to travel; so ruefully enough I wrote to Gabriel and told him how things were; and his answer was a comfort to us, for he reported that they were both tired of

On 26 Apr 1859 William Morris Author 1834-1896 (25) and [his wife] Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914 (19) were married at St Michael at the Northgate Church.

Around 25 Dec 1860. Dante Gabriel Rossetti Painter 1828-1882. Portrait of Mrs William Morris aka Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914. Signed top-left Upton (ie the Red House) Xmas 1860. 1864. Edward Coley Burne-Jones Painter Baronet 1833-1898. Portrait of Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914, and his sisters-in-law Alice Macdonald 1837-1910, Agnes Macdonald 1843-1906 and Louisa Macdonald 1845-1925 listening to his wife Georgiana reading aloud.

After 26 Apr 1859 William Morris Author 1834-1896 and [his wife] Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914 moved to the Red House.

Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones 1860. A little later and we were with the Morrises (26) in their new house at Upton, and the time we spent together there was one to swear by, if human happiness were doubted.

First was the arrival at Abbey Wood Station, a country place in those days, where a thin fresh air full of sweet smells met us as we walked down the platform, and outside was the wagonette sent from Red House to meet us; then a pull up the hill and a swinging drive of three miles of winding road on the higher land until, passing "Hog's Hole" on the left, we stopped at our friends' gate. I think Morris (26) must have brought us down from town himself, for I can see the tall figure of a girl standing alone in the porch to receive us.

It was not a large house, as I have said, but purpose and proportion had been so skilfully observed in its design as to arrange for all reasonable demands and leave an impression of ample space everywhere. It stood facing a little west of north, but the longest line of the building had a sunny frontage of west by south, and beneath its windows stretched a green bowling alley where the men used to play when work was over. For it was by no means on a holiday that Edward had come down, nor only to enjoy the company of his friend again, but that they might consult together about the decoration of the house, of which much is said in the Notes from which I have so often quoted.

The house was strongly built of red brick, and red tiled: the porches were deep and the plan of the house was two sides of a quadrangle. In the angle was a covered well. As we talked of decorating it plans grew apace. We fixed upon a romance for the drawing-room, a great favourite of ours called Sir Degrevaunt. I designed seven pictures from that poem, of which I painted three that summer and autumn in tempera. We schemed also subjcfts from Troy for the hall, and a great ship carrying Greek heroes for a larger space in the hall, but these remained only as schemes, none were designed except the ship. The great settle from Red lion Square, with the three painted shutters above the scat, was put up at the end of the drawing-room, and there was a ladder to its top and a parapet round it, and a little door above, in the wall behind it, that led into the roof. There at Christmas time it was intended that minstrels should play and sing. I began a pidure from the Niebe- lungen Lied on the inside of one of the shutters of this settle, and Morris painted in tempera a hanging below the Degrevaunt pictures, of bushy trees and parrots and labels on which he wrote the motto he adopted for his life, 'If I can.' He worked hard at this and the room began to look very beautiful."

PAINTINGS/BURNE-JONES/Sir_Degrevaunt.jpgOn one of his visits to Red House Rossetti found many of these labels still blank, waiting for the words "If I can," and in his reckless way instantly filled them with another motto, "As I can't." When Morris saw this pleasantry, Edward said, "it would have puzzled the discriminator of words to know which of those two was most eloquent in violent English."

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Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones 1860. A few days before this we had been telling each other riddles, and one of us asked, "Who killed his brother Cain?" Morris (26) instantly fell into the trap and shouted, "Abel, of course!" amidst a peal of laughter from us all. Afterwards he thought it very funny himself, so on his return from the wedding we were not surprised to learn that he had amused the company at breakfast by trying the trick on some one else. "I asked the parson" - he told us triumphantly - "I asked him 'Who killed his brother Abel?' and when of course he said 'Cain,' I said 'Hah! I knew you'd say that - every one says it.'" And we laughed again, more than before.

Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones 1860. Charles Faulkner (27) came down a couple of days after we did, and helped to paint patterns on walls and ceilings, and played bowls in the alley, and in intervals between work joined in triangular bear-fights in the drawing-room. Once, in the middle of a scrimmage that had surged up the steps into the "Minstrels' Gallery" he suddenly leapt clear over the parapet into the middle of the floor with an astounding noise; another time he stored windfallen apples in the gallery and defended himself with them against all comers until a too well-delivered apple gave Morris (26) a black eye; and then, remembering that Morris had promised to give away one of his sisters at her marriage a day or two afterwards, Edward and Faulkner left him no peace from their anticipations of the discredit his appearance would bring upon the ceremony.

Around 1861 [his daughter] Jane Alicia Morris -1861 was born to William Morris Author 1834-1896 (26) and Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914 (21).

1861. The Census records William Morris Author 1834-1896 (26), [his wife] Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914 (21), Algernon Charles Poet Swinburne 1837–1909 (23), Visitor, four servants and Jane Alicia Morris -1861 at Red House.

On 25 Mar 1862 [his daughter] Mary "May" Morris Model 1862-1938 was born to William Morris Author 1834-1896 (28) and Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914 (22). She was baptised 30 May 1862 at Christ Church Bexleyheath.

1871. The census records William Morris Author 1834-1896 (36), [his wife] Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914 (31), Elizabeth Burden, sister-in-law, Jane Alicia Morris -1861 (10), Mary "May" Morris Model 1862-1938 (8) and three servants living at 21 Queen Square.

On 03 Oct 1896 William Morris Author 1834-1896 (62) died.

On 26 Jan 1914 [his wife] Jane Morris nee Burden Model 1839-1914 (74) died at Kelmscott Manor House.