How William Morris sewed up the textile industry

24 Mar 2016

William Morris, via Wikimedia Commons

Google has chosen British textile great William Morris as its latest doodled celebration, with a selection of inspired images adorning the search engine today.

On his 182nd birthday, William Morris’ impact on the 19th century textile industry has been plastered all over Google, but do you know who he is?

Google claims it’s “nearly impossible” to sum up the work of one of Britain’s most famous artists, whose patterns are common place across walls, pages and textiles, but the man wasn’t one for sticking to one field.

Google Doodle William Morris

Working on type design and book binding, advocating art for the masses, lecturing on socialism and architecture, Morris dove into pretty much any field he could get his hands on.

Born in 1834, Morris died at the end of the 19th century after driving the British arts and crafts scene to new heights, even trying his hand at journalism and poetry through the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine, which he founded in 1856. He has a gallery dedicated to him at his former home, too.

In 1861 he, along with fellow artists Edward Byrne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and architect Philip Webb, set up a decorative arts firm called The Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co.

“Morris […] believed the success of a society was based on providing useful and meaningful work. By focusing on the end-to-end production of goods by passionate artisans instead of machines, he built a powerful political case for worker’s rights,” claims Google.

“His advocacy left an indelible mark on British culture in the face of rapid industrialisation.”

Google Doodle William Morris

Google went as far as designing five separate Morris-themed doodles, writing: “In many ways, Morris’ life’s work is reflected in his prints: a lush journey through interrelated pursuits.”

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic