William Morris

At the recommendation of a good friend, I became a member of London’s National Portrait Gallery today; and enjoyed their exhibition on the great Victorian polymath William Morris.

The introductory text on the gallery wall says it all:

William Morris was the greatest artist craftsman of his period – especially famous for his wallpapers and textiles. But this was only one of his activities. Morris in his time was even better know as a poet.

He was a passionate social reformer, an early environmentalist and an important political theorist. His utopian novel News from Nowhere had a profound national and international influence.

Uniting all these activities was Morris’s belief in the power of beauty to transform human lives.

When Morris lay dying in 1896 one of his doctors diagnosed his fatal illness as ‘simply being William Morris, and having done more work than most ten men’.

Wonderful ‘relevant complexity’ here: the power of beauty to transform lives is a noble cause indeed. And the National Portrait Gallery is a proper lunchtime treat.

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‘Relevant complexity’ is always best shared, so if you have any comments, suggestions or recommendations: book, spirit, sport, recipe, film, painting, poem, philosopher – share away in the comments box below…

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