May Morris: Art and Life
William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow, UK
7 October 2017 – 28 January 2018
May Morris (1862 - 1938), youngest daughter of William Morris, was a highly original designer and leading female exponent of the British Arts and Crafts Movement. Specialising in embroidery, she designed some of Morris & Co’s most iconic textiles and her work was collected by clients as far afield as Australia and the US.
Long overshadowed by her famous father, this exhibition will bring together rarely seen examples of May’s work from across the UK, giving visitors a unique opportunity to experience the breadth of her achievements. Exquisite silk embroideries, jewellery, costume, watercolours and designs will be displayed side by side, often for the first time.
May was one of the leading pioneers of ‘art embroidery’ and helped raise its status from an amateur pastime to a serious pursuit, requiring skills in design, colouring and technique. She disseminated her ideas through publications, lectures and by teaching at many of the leading art schools, influencing a generation of students in London, Birmingham and Manchester.
The show will offer fascinating new insights into May’s personal life and relationships, her social activism and her efforts to support other professional women who sought to make a living as artists and designers. One of the founders of the Women’s Guild of Arts, May actively sought opportunities for women to have the same platforms for their work as their male counterparts.
Lenders to the exhibition include the Victoria and Albert Museum, National Museums Scotland and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, as well as many other public institutions and private collectors. The gallery estimates that the exhibition will attract over 40,000 visitors, as well as reaching thousands more through exciting online content. A publication, produced in partnership with Thames and Hudson and the Victoria and Albert Museum and edited by Dr Jan Marsh, will accompany the exhibition.
For more information, please visit http://www.wmgallery.org.uk/.