PREVIEW: May Morris: Art & Life, William Morris Gallery

The William Morris Gallery has announced an exhibition exploring the life and work of May Morris, the younger daughter of William Morris. 

May Morris.jpeg
Detail of embroidery, design by May Morris, worked on by May Morris and Theodosia Middlemore for Melsetter House (c)National Museums Scotland. 

This landmark exhibition will be a comprehensive survey of may’s work, bringing together over eighty works  from collections around the UK, many of which have never been on public display.

For over 100 years, May Morris’s contribution to the world of  decorative arts, in particular to art embroidery has been overlooked due to her father’s illustrious career. In this new display, the William Morris Gallery will reveal the breadth of May’s creative pursuits, featuring wallpaper and embroidery alongside jewellery, dresses and book designs, as well as sketches and watercolours, which May painted throughout her lifetime.

By telling her story, the gallery will explore the artist’s role in the development of art embroidery – elevating needlework from a domestic craft to a serious art form – and highlight the extent of her influence in the UK and abroad, particularly the US.

The display will feature journal entries and letters that will offer unprecedented insight into May’s extraordinary life including Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s fondness of May.

Talking about the exhibition Jan Marsh, President of the William Morris Society and a trustee of the William Morris Gallery, said: ‘Acclaim at last for May Morris, celebrated designer-maker of art embroidery, pioneer socialist and conservationist.  The exhibition at the William Morris Gallery together with two new books will stunningly establish May Morris’s premier position in the Arts & Crafts tradition.’

Highlights of the exhibition will include:  a pair of expansive silk hangings, which May designed and embroidered in 1895 under the auspices of Morris & Co. and  a hand painted Valentine card made by May for George Bernard Shaw in 1886.

May Morris: Art and Life will be on display at the William Morris Gallery from the 7th October until the 28th January 2018. For more information visit:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: