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.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

California Trip!... and Much More

Please check out our Future Events link for the news on the fantastic California trip, planned for next April/May. There are also details of other regular events through January 2015. Please share with anyone you feel may be interested.

Yours in Morris...

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.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Finally... Doctor Who, Brad Pitt and Selfies make an Appearance on the Blog!

I'm not going to let the blog lag like I did last month... so here we go with more news from Twitter and elsewhere.

~ Here's a stunning new offering from the Folio Society. It's a reproduction of Morris's The Odes of Horace. At $795.00 CDN, it's not in everyone's budget, but if it is - wow, what a gift for yourself or someone you really love!

~ Martin Stott (@divinity65) will be hosting his first William Morris Society (UK) event as president. The lecture by Bill Peterson is titled Virtual partner; Emery Walker & the Kelmscott Press. It's this Saturday at 2:15 p.m. in case you happen to be in London! And attention printing geeks! Our mother-ship organization has charmingly created these Albion Press "selfie" cards.They're available for purchase from the society. Visit their website, under "SHOP."

~ The Victorian Society's (@thevicsoc) new magazine issue is out now. It features Morris on the cover and Fiona MacCarthy on Morris and Ayla Lepine (@heartchitecture) on Watts & Co.The magazine gets sent out three times a year to members of the VS.

~ And it's not every day we mention Doctor Who and Brad Pitt on here, but - well, okay, we never have, but here it is: both actors have stepped up to support the fund-raising campaign to help restore the fire-damaged, Mackintosh-designed Glasgow School of Art by becoming trustees of the appeal. We here at WMSC knew Brad Pitt was a keen fan of architecture, and now we know that native Glaswegian Peter (Doctor Who) Capaldi studied at GSoA and has sent a delightful video message. Read the GSoA's blog post, complete with video and background on the actors and their interest in the building here.

Keep sending in your  news! Thanks everyone.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

A Bit of Everything

We're just a bit behind here, but there's much to catch up on!

First off, news related to the man himself:

~ Kelmscott Manor unvelied its new website... right... here!

~ The National Portrait Gallery in London will hold an exhbition this fall: Anarchy & Beauty: William Morris and His Legacy, 1860 - 1960. This sounds unmissable. Any WMSC members going over? Let us know if you are!

~ On May 28, at the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, Darren Hayman recorded his arrangements of Morris's Chants for Socialists, with an amateur choir. Let's hope we get to hear the results soon!

~ Holly Cecil, as part of an undergraduate research project at the University of Victoria, B.C., has created four documentary shorts exploring Morris's life and work. Fantastic work, Holly! You can watch all four here!

~ Check out the University of Maryland's William Morris Collection of books and papers here.

~ William Morris was included in an 1873 book of cartoons of leading 19th-century figures. You can see the cartoon here.

~ The society was so saddened to hear of the passing of former president and long-time member Jean Johnson on May 27, at the age of 90. Read this lovely tribute here on OCAD's site. A very moving funeral service was attended by many members. It was lovely to spend time with them all after, and with Jean's many friends and her delightful daughter Anne. There will be a celebration of Jean's life at a future time.

~ A lot of our members will have attended Elaine Waisglass's photography exhibition at First Canadian Place, either at the opening (May 7, which four of the usual suspects attended and are photographed above), or at a special viewing on Saturday May 24, when Elaine also graciously hosted a wonderful garden party at her home. Members were able to revel in the beautiful plants that feature so strikingly in Elaine's photographs. You can see some of those photographs by visiting Elaine's website here.

~ On May 26 we attended an excellent architectural tour of University College led by Sharon Vattay. Thanks to Susan Pekilis for the photograph!

~ We were all holding our breath in horror when news of the terrible fire at Glasgow School of Art broke out. This amazing Rennie Mackintosh-designed building sustained damage, particularly to the library, but much was saved and efforts are underway to restore this architectural gem, which has meant so much to generations of artists, students and visitors.

~ You may have heard of the Delaware Art Museum's decision to sell some of their art to pay off construction debts and to replenish their endowment. The news that Holman Hunt's Isabella and the Pot of Basil was to be sold had art lovers around the world reeling. Today the painting was sold as part of a larger group at Christies. Today, on the Christies website, the result was described thusly: The [catalogue] cover lot, Isabella and the Pot of Basil, a masterpiece by Holman Hunt, sold for £2,882,500, a record for the artist at auction, surpassing the previous record of £1.8 million set in 1994. Unfortunately this comes quite a bit lower than expected and Pre-Raphaelite fans around the world will wait in dread to see what lot goes up for sale next. The Delaware Art Museum, a favourite on WMSC tours, houses the largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite art in North America.

That's all for now folks!

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Cake and Croquet at Kelmscott... Count me in!

Not only is Kelmscott Manor newly offering croquet games on their grounds (apparently a favourite Morris family activity), but they've also done something very cool with cake!

We all like cake at the WMSC, right? Well imagine our excitement when we read that the folks at Kelmscott have discovered recipes used by Morris himself: a gingerbread cake and a fruit cake. They're being baked and sold at the Kelmscott Manor shop and they come in lovely decorative tins. Argh! I want one! The picture to the left is from Kelmscott's Twitter feed. Too charming for words! From Kelmscott Manor's website:

"For her Morris fruitcake recipe, Ursula [Evans] follows the original recipe, soaking the vine fruits in brandy, then baking slowly in her Aga before adding a luxury glacĂ© fruit topping. As for the ginger cake, made with golden syrup, Demerara sugar, stem ginger and ground almonds, William Morris noted that it will ‘keep for six months in a tin’, but samples served at a recent tasting disappeared in seconds. ‘Very moist, well risen with a deliciously warm ginger taste’, commented Rob Rees, the Cotswolds Chef, who has been advising Kelmscott Manor on what to do with the newly discovered Morris family recipes.

The cakes will go on sale at Kelmscott Manor from the Easter weekend (19 April), with the proceeds going to support conservation work at the Manor. Sarah Parker, Kelmscott’s Property Manager, says: ‘Morris was all about authenticity and honest craftsmanship; we believe these delicious cakes are part of that legacy.'"

Is anyone going to be in the vicinity this year? Guess what souvenir I'd like? Heh heh...