Thursday, 23 September 2021

Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement

Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement opens in St Petersburg, Florida.

The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement opened to the public Sept. 7, 2021.

Founded by collector Rudy Ciccarello, more than 800 works collected personally by Ciccarello are showcased, culled in part from the Two Red Roses Foundation.

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

People Tree and V&A Morris-inspired collaboration


The latest collaboration with the Victoria & Albert museum celebrates the beauty of prints and patterns that so inspired designers such as William Morris. 

Based on a pretty wallpaper from 1896 by John Henry Dearle, this pattern is reminiscent of many of Morris & Co.'s early designs with its simple meadow flowers and structure of climbing foliage.

See the recent collection here:

People Tree is a Fair Trade clothing company. In the spirit of Morris' socialist and environmental concerns, this brand champions craftspeople and holds itself to a high ethical standard. From their website:

Our Mission:
To support producer partners' efforts towards economic independence and control over their environment and to challenge the power structures that undermine their rights to a livelihood. 

To protect the environment and use natural resources suitably throughout our trading and to promote environmentally responsible initiatives to create new models to promote sustainability. 

To supply customers with good quality products, with friendly and efficient service and build awareness to empower customers and producers to participate in Fair Trade and environmentally sustainable solutions. 

To provide a supportive environment to all stakeholders and promote dialogue and understanding between them. 

To set an example to business and government of a Fair Trade model of business based on partnership, people-centered values and sustainability.  

Monday, 12 July 2021

"The Whole Scheme of the Book:" William Morris and the Kelmscott Press from McMaster University


Established in 1891, the Kelmscott Press was the last great project of William Morris. Conceived as a deliberate return to the technologies and processes of an earlier era of printing, the Press brought together an astonishingly gifted community of artists and artisans in a self-conscious attempt to produce "the ideal book." Its output — 53 books in total, each in a limited print run — represents a high point of aesthetic and philosophical attainment for the Arts and Crafts movement. The work of the Press went on to have a profound influence on both printing and the decorative arts, and its founding is traditionally considered the starting point for the small and fine press movement. McMaster University Library is fortunate to hold several volumes from the Press — including a sumptuous copy of its masterpiece, the Kelmscott Chaucer. 

Join Myron Groover (McMaster's Archives and Rare Books Librarian) for an exploration of the Kelmscott Press, its historical and aesthetic context, and McMaster's own collection of Kelmscott editions. 

Further Reading: 
- Norman Kelvin, Ed. The Collected Letters of William Morris. (Princeton, 1996.) 
- Elizabeth Carolyn Miller. Slow Print: Literary Radicalism and Late Victorian Print Culture. (Stanford, 2013.) 
- Paul Thompson. The Work of William Morris. (Oxford, 1991.) 
- The William Morris Internet Archive (courtesy of Marxists Internet Archive) - The Kelmscott Press Bibliography at the University of Iowa

Saturday, 26 June 2021

Happy Kelmscott Day!


The Kelmscott Chaucer is the most memorable and beautiful edition of the complete works by the English poet. An outstanding achievement in typography, the Golden typeface was especially designed for this book. With 87 full-page illustrations by Sir Edward Burne-Jones and the borders and decorations and initials drawn by William Morris himself.

Friday, 28 May 2021

London Churches: After the Fire and After the Blitz

London Churches: After the Fire and After the Blitz
June 16th, 7:30 pm EST
Members Only Zoom Event

Second World War bomb damage to St Stephen’s Walbrook, a church built in the 1670s to replace one lost in the Great Fire of 1666.
Dennis Flanders, 1941, Imperial War Museum.

The Great Fire in the 1660s destroyed St Paul’s Cathedral and 86 of London’s 106 parish churches. Many of them – mostly dating to the Mediaeval era – were rebuilt in the Baroque and Neoclassical styles to reflect the tastes and theological values of the 17th and early 18th centuries. Over 200 years later, in the 1940s, a large number of these structures fell victim to German bombing during the Blitz. Some of them were restored or rebuilt in the aftermath of the Second World War; others were not but had their sites converted to other uses.
In this illustrated lecture, we will examine how people responded to those terrible disasters during two very different time periods, consider the different meanings of the various approaches people might take when faced with the loss of important buildings, and explore the significance of their choices in the realm of heritage preservation.

Dr. Carl Benn is a History professor at Ryerson University, where he has worked since 2008. Before that he served in the museum field for 34 years, latterly as Chief Curator of the City of Toronto’s Museums and Heritage Services, where he fulfilled senior curatorial and managerial duties, restored historical properties, curated exhibits, and produced other public resources. Carl has published extensively, and his books include: Historic Fort York (1993); The Iroquois in the War of 1812 (1998); The War of 1812 (2002); Mohawks on the Nile (2009); Native Memoirs from the War of 1812: Black Hawk and William Apess (2014); and A Mohawk Memoir from the War of 1812: John Norton –Teyoninhokarawen (2019). Currently he is researching the history of the Royal Ontario Museum for his next book. His teaching at Ryerson centres on Museum History, Curatorship, Heritage Management, Material Culture, and Archaeology.

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Poetry and Cake Lecture by the WMSC 2021

Dear Friends, if you were not able to join us, or would like to listen again, we have uploaded our Morris Birthday lecture from earlier this year onto YouTube.

We have two videos: the first is poetry read by Gianna:

The second for the history of the WMSC cakes (2002-2021), as told by cake team of Gianna, Laura (and James), and Lera:

Sunday, 2 May 2021

A view of Morris’s study


A view of Morris’s study, shortly after his death, by Edmund H. New. (Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, University of Delaware Library.)

“Friends of Mr. Morris will always regret that no catalogue of his complete library was ever issued, as it would have illustrated, in a remarkable manner, the real genius in selection which enabled him, in a very short space of time, to bring together so many specimens of first-rate importance” (The Guardian, 14 December 1898, p. 26).

William Morris (1834–1896) was a voracious reader from an early age, but it was only in his later years that he became a determined book-collector, and all the evidence suggests that he then began to acquire books and manuscripts on a large scale primarily because of his interest in the history of book illustration and typography. Hence when he founded the Kelmscott Press in 1891, his fascination with printing led him on to increasingly ambitious purchases for his library, especially of medieval books and manuscripts. Nevertheless, he also owned a very substantial collection of nineteenth-century books—we have identified more than a thousand so far—and this point is worth emphasizing, because most published remarks on Morris’s library, including those of Morris himself and Sydney Cockerell, give the misleading impression that his bookshelves held little else but incunables.

This website represents an attempt to reconstruct the personal library of one of the most influential figures of the Victorian era. Drawing upon a large number of sources, we are creating a short-title list of all the books and manuscripts Morris is known to have had in his collection. We are also including information about provenance, snippets from the Sotheby sale catalogue of Morris’s library (December 1898), buyers and prices of the lots in that auction, and links to digital copies of the titles. (We are aware, by the way, that some of those links, especially to Google Books, are not functional outside the United States because of copyright restrictions, but we hope that may change in the future.) Likewise, we are making use of the three manuscript catalogues of Morris’s books compiled during his lifetime (see Abbreviations under “MS catalogues”). At a later stage, we want to add more information about individual entries, such as allusions to them in Morris’s writings and correspondence.

The story of how Morris’s collection was dispersed after his death is complex and can only be briefly summarized here. Though some of his books remained within the family, his executors, Sydney Cockerell and F. S. Ellis, arranged for a private sale of the rest of the library to Richard Bennett, a Manchester collector, who quickly disposed of a large number of items that were subsequently offered at auction by Sotheby’s (London) in December 1898. Because Henry Wellcome was the most active buyer at that sale, the Wellcome Library in London today has one of the two largest collections of titles from Morris’s library, but of course the remainder of the lots in the 1898 auction are now widely scattered. The other substantial body of material once owned by Morris is at the Morgan Library in New York, since in 1902 J. Pierpont Morgan acquired the second part of Bennett’s collection. Unfortunately the Wellcome Library sold hundreds of Morris’s books during the 1930s and 1940s, and even the Morgan has deaccessioned a few titles that were treated as duplicates.

We have also decided, after some hesitation, to include books that were owned by Morris’s wife and daughters before his death, on the assumption that these books were all at one time under the roofs of Kelmscott House and Kelmscott Manor, and were no doubt in some instances mingled with Morris’s modern books. (Following the same principle, we are recording Morris’s personal copies of Kelmscott Press books that were published during his lifetime.) Similarly, we are listing books given by Morris to others, except for copies of his own works and Kelmscott Press titles. In a few instances, we know that these books came directly from his own bookshelves as duplicate copies, and the books he presented to others often tell us something about Morris’s literary tastes and preferences.

We are of course recording medieval and Renaissance manuscripts owned by Morris, though we have excluded his calligraphic exercises and drafts of his own writings. For manuscripts later acquired by J. Pierpont Morgan, we are making use of additional information found in Sydney Cockerell’s marginalia in his copy of the Morgan Catalogue (see Abbreviations) now at the Lilly Library, Indiana University; we are also providing the first two paragraphs of each manuscript description in the Morgan Catalogue.

In order to give a better sense of how much Morris is likely to have paid for his early books and manuscripts, we are gradually adding details from the Ellis valuation (see Abbreviations) compiled after Morris’s death.

Obviously this site continues to be a work in progress. We welcome suggestions, corrections, and especially new information; we are diligently searching in all the known sources, but we urge readers to tell us about books and manuscripts once in Morris’s possession that we may have overlooked.

We should add that we maintain another website devoted to the Kelmscott Chaucer.

William S. Peterson ( & Sylvia Holton Peterson (