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William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement, in Barcelona

Until 21 May 2018

William Morris, one of the most influential and multifaceted intellectuals on the cultural scene of the second half of the 19th century, is the star of a major exhibition at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya organised by the museum together with the Fundación Juan March. Morris, born in Walthamstow in 1834, was an outstanding figure for his versatile literary, artistic and entrepreneurial career. A firm advocate of the crafts, he was one of the founders and leaders of the Arts & Crafts movement, which championed the production of objects with traditional techniques and materials over the growing dehumanisation of modern industry. This is why the exhibition is not limited to Morris’s figure; instead it is broadly placed in the context of his historical period, especially highlighting the last decades of the 19th and early 20th centuries when the movement reached its peak and became one of Europe’s most important cultural trends.

In 1861, shortly after moving to the Red House—his house in Bexleyheath, designed by Philip Webb—Morris created his own arts and crafts business: Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. The company sold a series of products such as stained glass windows, hand-painted ceramics, wallpaper and embroidered fabrics that became increasingly affordable. Morris’s influence was felt in the foundation of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, an organization created in 1887 to promote the arts and artistic crafts. But Morris also stood out for other facets, such as the political or literary ones. With close ties to the British socialist movements, his novel "News from Nowhere or An Epoch of Rest" constitutes an approximation to his vision of an utopian society.

The exhibition features Morris’s many facets, with special focus on his role in the Arts and Crafts movement, through four thematic spheres. The first one, “From the origins to the Red House, 1830-1860” deals with the first stage and includes works by Pugin, Ruskin and members of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood. The second one, “William Morris and Company, 1861-1896”, features his entrepreneurial and creative activities. The third, “The Arts & Crafts Movement in Great Britain,
1887-1914”, includes works by creators such as Sidney Barnsley, Walter Crane, Mary Macdonald, Charles Rennie Mackintosh or Philip Webb. Lastly, in “The International Dissemination of the Arts & Crafts Movement, 1890-1914” the exhibition shows the important influence of this movement in the world, through works by architects and creators such as Hendrik Petrus Barlage, Josef Franz Maria Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, Lars Kinsarvik, Josep Puig i Cadafalch, Joan Burquets or Frank Lloyd Wright, among others.

The “William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement in Great Britain” exhibition is on view at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya until 21 May 2018.


Parc de Montjuïc, s/n
08038 Barcelona. Spain

T/+34 936 220 360



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28006 Madrid. Spain

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