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Celebrating William Morris
By Hannah Cooke  //  Fri 24th March 2017
William Morris, Pre-Raphaelite
William Morris
The celebrated Arts & Crafts artist, William Morris was born on this day (24 March) in 1834. Morris and his wife enjoyed a close friendship with the 9th Earl and Countess of Carlisle, George and Rosalind Howard, writing to and visiting them frequently.
At the time Rosalind Howard modernised Castle Howard’s 18th century décor with the brightly coloured designs of William Morris, however today only his work in the chapel, a small section of original paper in what is now the gift shop and some pieces in the private collection remain. 

A selection of wallpaper rolls, letters and keepsakes between the friends are stored in our archive.

Bird & Anemone
In 1894, 24 rolls were purchased for the High Saloon, controversially covering Pellegrini frescoes. These frescoes were uncovered by George Howard in the 1920s but sadly destroyed in the fire of 1940.

Bird and Anemone

Red & Gold Sunflower
In 1882, 13 rolls were bought but which rooms they were hung in is not known. In 1885 Red Sunflower was used to decorate the Long Gallery – with 170 rolls required!

Red and Gold Sunflower

The 9th Earl of Carlisle was himself a talented artist and this pencil sketch of Morris was completed by him during one of Morris’ visits to see his friends.

William Morris sketch

The stained Glass in the Chapel was executed by William Morris & Co to the designs of Edward Burne Jones.

Chapel Stained Glass

This pretty hand illustrated keepsake was given to Rosalind Howard by Morris’ wife Jane, a sign of the closeness of the friendship between the two women. 

Keepsake from Jane Morris  Keepsake from Jane Morris

A selection of original Hammersmith rugs by Morris & Co remain in the collection today. This one dates to circa 1880 and was designed by William Morris and made at Kelmscott House, Hammersmith - from where the rug gets its name.

Hammersmith Rug