Saturday, 28 February 2015

Vote for Kelmscott!

Vote for Kelmscott Manor, William Morris's one-time Cotswolds home, to be named the UK's most inspiring museum or heritage visitor attraction of the last 12 months.

All the details are here, and the link to vote!

Friday, 27 February 2015

Here's a tip to Keeping Warm - Start Making Summer Plans!

Well, that's one good tip anyway. And speaking of making summer plans, under our "OF INTEREST" button above, we list exhibitions and other items of Morris-related interest that are happening here and around the world.

Keep checking back or follow/like us on Facebook to get all the news that will help you plan your travels, and if you hear of anything we haven't got listed, please leave a comment or e-mail us!

Monday, 23 February 2015

The Newcomb Pottery Exhibit

A large, hardy group of WMSC members met up yesterday morning (a snowy one) at the Gardiner Museum for the excellent Women, Art & Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise exhibition. We split into two groups for the private tour with our knowledgable guides and were enchanted by the story behind the pottery and the striking pieces created.

The Gardiner, one of this blog's favourite boutique hotels, is a must-visit for all Torontonians and visitors. Be sure to visit before this particular exhibition ends May 18!

Also, keep up to date on our future events by clicking the FUTURE EVENTS button above.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

A Trip to NYC for The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy

Last summer, WMSC member Lera Kotsyuba visited The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. She sent us this review in a timely manner - it is this blogger's fault that it is being posted so tardily.

The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy

Walking past ancient and medieval artifacts, behind the central rotunda, is the exhibition titled “The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy,” set with the intimacy of a small chapel. The secluded space and soft lighting give the gallery a feeling of quiet contemplation, with sounds from the rest of the museum muted by the gallery walls. Showcasing the true spirit behind the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood, a meeting and collaboration between the arts and crafts is evident in the pieces chosen for the exhibition. Sketches by Dante Gabriel Rossetti are amid tapestries by Edward Burne-Jones and John Henry Dearle, and books by the Kelmscott Press stand in the centre.

A room that grants intimacy between the viewer and the objects on display, the smaller setting provides the opportunity to truly examine the works up close, an opportunity not as easily available in other parts of the gallery. Although protected by glass, the brushstrokes of The Love Song by Burne-Jones can be studied and compared to those of Lady Lilith by Rossetti. Offering quiet contemplation, the gallery space houses exemplary pieces from the Arts and Crafts movement. Textiles, from the decorative Angeli Laundantes tapestry to the woven designs of Bird by William Morris, and pottery by William de Morgan portray the romantic and imaginative spirit of the Pre-Raphaelites. With approaches to all manner of crafts, the care and artistry of each piece is evident. The Backgammon Players cabinet is exemplary of the Arts and Crafts movement, designed by Burne-Jones and Philip Webb, the cabinet is a work that showcases painting, craft, wood-working, furniture-building and iron-work all in one item.  Placed at eye level, I had the opportunity to peruse every detail (but the interior). Carved, painted, and inlaid with metalwork, the cabinet showcases the individual strengths of each craft in one piece. Similarly splendid was its placement near other domestic works, such as the glazed earthenware by de Morgan and the Bird textile by Morris. Striking a balance between domestic and art object, realizing the true potential of “joy in labour.”

The beautiful “The Well at the World’s End” was my personal favourite in the exhibition. Although encased in glass, its splendor shined through. The winding foliage of the border, with its roots in medieval manuscript roots, was a true testament to the imagination and virtuosity of Morris; the beautifully rendered natural forms of foliage and fruit were not outdone by the deft hand of the illustration by Burne-Jones. Placed next to Aubrey Vincent Beardsley’s frame for Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur, drawing focus to the lasting impression that the movement had on those that followed in later years.

I spent over an hour in this gallery alone, perusing these works of beauty, from the soulful eyes of Jane Morris, as drawn by Rossetti, to the vivacity of brushwork by Burne-Jones, the exhibition allows a personal acquaintance with many works that demonstrate the ideals of the Pre-Raphaelites.

Thank you, Lera! You can see more of Lera's photographs on her Flickr account here.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

May 2015 Be Filled with Much Morris!

Happy New Year to all!

WMSC members will have received notice of the February event at the Gardiner Museum, tied to their exhibition: Women, Art & Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise. This Smithsonian exhibition is visiting Toronto from February 5 to May 18. It looks like a stunner! Check out our Future Events page as more items get added.

Also, please visit our FaceBook page and like us... if you do!

Watch this space or our Twitter feed or our FaceBook page for exciting news about future events, and more.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014


A couple of us went to the Around 1914: Design for a New Age exhibit at the ROM. This is a small, elegant exhibit, with - naturally - lots of coverage on Morris and some beautiful items for display. It's on til next March!

~ The William Morris Society (UK) has announced details on their Joseph A. Dunlop Memorial Fellowship. You can read more here about what support they provide and how it can be applied for.

~ Currently in Liverpool at the Lady Lever Gallery, the exhibit "Rossetti's Obsession: Images of Jane Morris" will travel to the William Morris Gallery in the autum.

~ Craft Ontario's new exhibit The Art of the Book runs from July 24 to September 13. The Art of the Book 2013 exhibition, organized and curated by the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild (CBBAG), celebrates the potential of the book as an art object, and marks the CBBAG’s 30th anniversary.

~ The Tiffany exhibit at the Driehaus Museum in Chicago has been extended to January 4, 2015!

That's all for now.

Image: Morris chair, Royal Ontario Museum

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Around 1914: Design in a New Age Decorative Arts Symposium

WMSC member Karen Stanley attended this symposium in support of the ROM's new exhibit, which you can read more about here. And here's what Karen had to say!

The Royal Ontario Museum hosted a symposium on April 10-11, 2014. The ROM first opened in 1914 during a time of change that was accelerated by industrialization and new modes of manufacture. The opening guest speaker was supposed to have been Margaret Macmillan but was unavailable. She was replaced by Rosalind Pepall, former Senior Curator of Decorative Art, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Her keynote remarks were regarding Soaring Ambition and Design Before the War. She was a very good speaker and talked about the period as a time of bold experimentation and questioning regarding tradition that rejected conventional ornamentation and historical precedents. It laid the foundation of the movement to “modern” and a new concept called “industrial design”. The time was moving from Arts and Crafts to Art and Industry.

The following day a series of international scholars spoke about designers and crafts people who were responding to the ideological and social challenges of the period through art, architecture and design.

On April 11 Dr. Paul Stirton, Professor Bard Graduate Centre, Decorative Arts, Design History Material Culture, New York opened the morning session and spoke about the Arts and Crafts in the UK before the first World War. He spoke about crafts people such as Charles Robert Ashbee and Liberty’s of London.

Dr. Pamela Robertson, Senior Curator and Professor of Mackitosh Studies The Hunterian, University of Glasgow followed. She spoke of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Architecture. At the time Mackintosh’s designs were considered controversial and innovative.

Dr. Martin Eidelberg, Professor of Art History at Rutgers University gave a lecture on The Rise and Fall of Tiffany Studios.

Etienne Tornier, Institut National de l’Histoire de l”Art, Paris gave a presentation of Art Nouveau, Siegfried Bing and America.

Dr. Christian Witt-Dorring, Curator MAK Vienna and the Neue Galerie, New York gave an interactive presentation on Adolf Loos and Josef Hoffmann-Two ways to Modernism in Vienna 1900.

The symposium ended with Peter Behrens, Painter, Architect, Industrial Designer, given by Dr. Stanford Anderson, Professor of History and Architecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

During the day participants were encouraged to view the ROM’s exhibition that accompanied the symposium. The ROM had pieces on display of Charles Robert Ashbee, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Hosef Hoffman, Hacob and Josef Kohn, and Peter Behrens, to name a few.

Image from the ROM's website: Chair designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh (Scottish, 1868-1928) Probably made by Francis Smith and Son Oak, stained dark, horsehair fabric cover Glasgow, Scotland Designed c. 1898-1900, made c. 1898-1900.