Historic Standen House explores how the natural world inspired designer William Morris

The exhibition will run from 1 June – 10 November 2019.

Morris & Co. are delighted to support the forthcoming exhibition at the National Trust’s Standen House and Garden in West Sussex. Discover the inspiration behind the beautiful patterns of flowers and birds featured in signature designs through a new exhibition beginning this summer.

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William Morris exhibition

Honeysuckle embroidery – Design attributed to May Morris, maker unknown. Morris & Co. Image credit: ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The inspiration behind the popular patterns of flowers and birds in designs by Arts & Crafts firm Morris & Co., will be explored in an exhibition beginning this summer at the National Trust’s Standen House and Garden in west Sussex.

William Morris exhibition

The Drawing Room at Standen Image credit: ©National Trust Images/James Dobson

William Morris (1834-1896), founding father of the Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain, designed some of the most recognisable textile patterns of the nineteenth century.

The creative force behind Morris & Co., which produced his designs, Morris had a love of nature which influenced his work.

William Morris exhibition

The Conservatory at Standen. Image credits: ©National Trust/Rod Kirkpatrick

At Standen House and Garden, the Arts & Crafts house designed for the Beale family in the late 19th century, Morris & Co. patterns were chosen for furnishings throughout their home and exemplify the popularity of bringing nature indoors.

William Morris exhibition

The Vine hanging in the Drawing Room at Standen. Embroidered by Margaret Beale and
daughters. Image credit: ©National Trust Images/James Dobson

The exhibition will invite visitors to discover how repeating patterns of flowers and birds in Morris & Co. designs were chosen, and the value that Morris placed on the revival of traditional skills and techniques including natural dyeing and tapestry weaving.

William Morris exhibition

The South Front and garden at Standen. Image credit: ©National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

In collaboration with Morris & Co., which still produces his designs today, the exhibition ‘Inspired by Nature’ will include a recreation of the company’s original showroom and enable visitors to experience how customers like the Beale family selected products for their homes.

William Morris exhibition

The Larkspur Bedroom at Standen. Image credit: ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The exhibition will celebrate Standen’s well-known collection of Morris & Co. patterns and reveal the process behind their creation, so we are really excited to be able to display the original woodblocks used to print the wallpapers seen in the house.

William Morris exhibition

Garden at Standen. Image credit: ©National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

‘Inspired by Nature’ will extend from the house across the garden and wider estate. A programme of events will include talks, craft workshops and family events, and the chance to see plants such as pomegranate, rose and honeysuckle in the conservatory and garden, reflecting those in Morris and Co.’s patterns.  

William Morris exhibition

The vegetable garden at Standen. Image credit: ©National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

A trail inspired by William Morris’s poem Tapestry Trees will lead visitors through the Arts & Crafts garden overlooking the Sussex Weald, showing why each of the trees including oak, ash and yew was important to Morris. 

nationatrust.org.uk/standen

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