Thursday 24 March 2016

William Morris (1834-1896), Poet and Designer, is Honoured with Google Doodle

George Frederic Watts portrait of William Morris 1870 v2
George Frederic Watts [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
Since the inception of the Google Doodle, authors and writers have figured prominently among the list of honourees. Today it is the turn of the Victorian artist, designer, poet, publisher, William Morris who was born on this day in 1834. He was also a prominent figure in the socialist movement that swept Britain, along with many other countries in the 19th century with the onset of industrialisation.

Though best known in his day for his poetry, his posthumous legacy is said to lie chiefly in his designs, which appear to have found a new lease of life in the internet age, as evidenced by Google's tribute. Accounting for that legacy, Jonathan Jones in today's The Guardian says that he "dedicated his life to inventing beautiful and useful products for the modern world ... showing that mass production – of a kind – can be beautiful."

Morris himself, perhaps summed up his own philosophy in the quote, "If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." (source: Wikiquote)

His life and legacy is kept alive today by the William Morris Society, founded in 1955 in London, England with chapters today to be found around the world.

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