William Morris met Burne-Jones when at Exeter College, Oxford. He then studied architecture under Street, but abandoned it to become a painter under the influence of Rossetti.
In 1861 he founded the firm of Morris and Co., to produce wallpapers, furniture, tapestries, and stained-glass windows (many designed by Burne-Jones), carpets and furnishing materials in a style entirely different from that of contemporary Victorian decoration, but one which, nevertheless, tended towards a different kind of horror vacui and the use of equally dark and heavy colours. The difficulty over Morris's aims in advocating a return to the handmade article or decorative object is that he was so strongly opposed to any form of mass-production or industrialization, which inevitably meant that his products could never be bought by any but the rich, to whom his theories meant nothing, and for whom his products were merely the latest fashion.
He is particularly important for the development of the private press, and did much with his Kelmscott Press, founded in 1890, to raise the standards of book design and printing, although he favoured a revival of medieval black-letter where Lucien Pissarro's Eragny Press (1986) concentrated on modern typefaces.
His poems and other writings are anti-industrialist and support a socialist theory for the regeneration of man by handicraft.
There are drawings and a painting in the Tate and the V&A, London, the latter also having a room entirely decorated with Morris products, and there is a Morris Museum at Walthamstow, London.
Source: The Penguin Dictionary of Art and Artists (Penguin Reference Books)
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