The William Morris Gallery in Waltham Forest welcomed a very special guest on Thursday 21 February as Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall visited to see the museum, which was once the family home of famed Victorian designer, artist, and thinker William Morris.
The Duchess toured the Walthamstow-based museum with the curator, Rowan Bain, and gallery staff to see the exhibits that document the history of the building and its influence on William Morris’ work and life. The museum shows how the building may have appeared during William Morris’ lifetime, with original features and fittings, and gives visitors a great overview of Morris’ lasting influence on British design by highlighting some of his more famous and long-lived innovations. The gallery also features work by William Morris’ talented and ground-breaking daughter May Morris, a pioneer for female creatives and designers.
The William Morris Gallery is owned and operated by Waltham Forest Council, which is the Mayor’s London Borough of Culture 2019. It has hosted special exhibitions and displays featuring artists including Claude Monet, Lucian Pissarro, and Beatrix Potter among many others.
Cllr Paul Douglas, Junior Cabinet Member for Culture, said: “The William Morris Gallery is a real treasure – it’s frankly astounding to see just how influential William Morris and his daughter May were on British arts and design. You can still see that legacy reflected in contemporary work to this day in modern furniture, interiors, and artwork.
“As we celebrate our year as London Borough of Culture it’s a fantastic opportunity to look back at our heritage and the proud tradition of radicals and makers working in fellowship in Waltham Forest. I’m delighted that Her Royal Highness has visited – we’d like to extend that invite to everyone, there’s plenty to enjoy in Waltham Forest during our year in the spotlight.”
The next exhibition at the William Morris Gallery, Cultural Revolution, features posters, revolutionary landscapes, and intricate papercuts collected in China during the 1970s and opens on Saturday 23 February. Entry to the William Morris Gallery is free – please do leave a donation to support the museum if you enjoyed your visit.
All pictures by Nicola Tree.