Tag Archive | William Morris

4th February 1924. Morris Vehicles.

By 1913 the British Motor industry built 25,000 cars and 9,000 commercial vehicles (3rd place in the international league) way behind America’s 461,000 (cars) and France’s 45,000. However while Ford made twenty cars a day, it took Morris a week to turn out the same number.

In 1921 William Morris, the former cycle repairer, decided to slash the price of his already cheap Cowley and more up-market ‘Bullnose’ models  By 1924, the Model T Ford was overtaken by Morris and in 1925 sales, helped by acquisitions, were 54,151. In 1927 Morris took over Wolseley Cars.(1)

Above a share certificate of Wrigley dated 16th March, 1922 soon to be worthless.

One early acquisition by Morris was that of E G Wrigley & Company which Today in 1924 was incorporated as Morris Commercial Cars Ltd, based on the Morris car chassis, and which was to produce a wide range of distinctively designed vans, lorries and buses-Morris Commercials.

Morris Oxford, Cabriolet 1924.

Wrigley was a British car gear and axle components manufacturer of Foundry Lane Birmingham having made its last car in 1913 and its assets and buildings were acquired by Morris on 1st January 1924  after it went into liquidation the previous year..

Up till then a small number of commercial variants of Morris were built at Cowley, Oxford, but now serious production began with Morris Commercial Vehicles being formed by Morris founder of Morris Motors Ltd.

Morris Commercial 1 ton van 1928.

Morris Commercial LC 5. 1953 registered.







In 1932 the commercial vehicle business transferred across Birmingham to the former Wolseley factory at Adderley Park and in 1936 Morris sold the company into his Morris Motors.

1939 registered Morris Commercial Bus.

1952 Morris Commercial Van.







1936 Morris Fourteen Six Cylinder car. Cost c£200-300.

Morris Commercial Cars Ltd had use of the brand name until 1968 when British Motor Holdings (BMC), parent company of Austin/Morris merged with Leyland Motor Corporation to become British Motor Corporation.

(1) Morris was later Lord Nuffield.


wikipedia.org.morris and wrigleys/Pic.

alamy.1936 Pic

commons wikimedia.org/Pic of cabriolet.


classic cars.1952.

flickr.1939 bus.



17th June 1898. Sentiment in Art.

Disengaged from the world by basing his art on myth, legend and the Bible, not surprisingly for someone born in 1833 wishing to escape from the growing industrialisation of Britain, by the time Sir Edward Burne-Jones (Bt) died Today in 1898, he had earned a place in the Pantheon of 19thc painters.

The Wedding of Psyche. 1895.

An influential later member of the Pre-Raphaelites, Aesthetic and Arts and Crafts Movement, he was par-excellence a painter of the imagination, of dreamy maidens and sleeping beauties.

Having internalised the Victorian ethos of hard work and moral purpose, his work reflected the narrative of literature especially of The Middle Ages, of Mallory and the Legends of King Arthur, causing Henry James to remark, ‘it wasn’t painting but literature’.

The Annunciation. 1879.

Burne-Jones became closely associated with the decorative art and crafts movements after meeting William Morris at Oxford, the founder of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Co.

After encountering the works of fellow Pre-Raphaelites; Millais, Ford Madox Brown, Holman Hunt and Rosetti he decided on a career in art.

The multi-talented Burne-Jones was much involved in the rejuvenation of stained-glass, including work for Birmingham Cathedral, Trinity Church, Sloane Square, Chelsea, and in the Shires at the Church of St. Edward the Confessor, at Cheddleton, Staffordshire.

The glass for a window at Christ Church, Oxford of 1859 was 2 years before the foundation of the Morris Company, after the recommendation of Benjamin Woodward, architect of the Oxford Museum of Natural History and friend of John Ruskin and the Pre-Rapaelites.


The picture evokes the spirit of medieval glass with its crammed style and vibrant colour, but also reflects the artist’s well-known sense of humour: notice the WC in the background.


Window at Christ Church Oxford showing St Frideswide who founded a convent on the site in the 8thc. Notice the incongruous WC in background.

By the the 1860.s Burne-Jones was developing his own style and in 1877 was persuaded to show eight oil paintings at the Grosvenor Gallery, a new rival to the Royal Academy.

One was the Beguiling of Merlin (1872-77), from the Arthurian legend of the infatuation of Merlin with the Lady of the Lake, Nimue.

Merlin shown trapped in an hawthorn bush as Nimue reads a book on spells.

One can look at the art of Burne-Jones and others of the 19thc, making of it what one will, and to some might seem sentimental to modern eyes, but it can hardly fail to tug at some cord in the human imagination.



Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, Merseyside.

Photo of Christ Church by Alkoliasnikoff. Collective Commons Attribution.


The Last Pre-Raphaelite. Fiona MacCarthy. 12.9.2011.

Red List/Pic of Annunciation.

Wikiart/Pic of Psyche.




3rd October 1896. Arsenic and old Wallpaper.

Morris Wallpaper.

Morris Wallpaper.


‘Of paper there are divers sorts finer and courser, as also brown and blue paper. Truly they are very pretty and make houses of the more ordinary people look neat’. (1)






Today in 1896, saw the death of the atheistic, socialist, William Morris, who according to John Betjeman, was the successor to the romantic Catholic, Augustus Welby Pugin, the most influential of 19thc architects.

Both Morris, born in 1834, and Pugin, deplored the ‘soul-less’ new machinery, which was now taking over from craftsmen, and they reacted by looking back to the ideals of the medieval world, which influenced the Art Noveau Movement.(2)

Morris thought all ornament should consist of enrichment of the essential construction, a style typified by square, wooden shapes, solid, pierced wood furniture and wallpaper with natural themes of flowers.

Glass ar St Editha's Church Tamworth.

William Morris Glass at St Editha’s Church Tamworth.

Morris was horrified by the new artificial aniline dyes of William Perkins, preferring to use natural pigment such as madder and indigo.

The anilines such as ‘Gas Green’, he said was ‘as abominable as its name, both by daylight and gaslight’.

Morris was the subject of controversy as early wallpapers contained arsenic- the family owning a Devon arsenic mine.

In 1858 The Lancet reported the death of a child, through eating a flake of wallpaper containing arsenic. In 1879 Queen Victoria had rooms stripped of the green wallpaper, containing arsenic, after a guest suffered from its effects, whilst stopping there.

Could the poison have been responsible for the fatigue and malaise of many Victorians, with the gorgeous,but impregnated fabrics, blowing arsenic around ball-rooms?

ca. 1875-1899 --- A print of an advertisement for Jeffrey & Co's, producers of artistic wallpaper free from arsenic. --- Image by © Historical Picture Archive/CORBIS

ca. 1875-1899 — A print of an advertisement for Jeffrey & Co’s, producers of artistic wallpaper free from arsenic. — Image by © Historical Picture Archive/CORBIS

Morris’s wallpaper and fabrics were chosen to decorate Wightwick Manor, Wolverhampton, owned by the Mander Family, whose paint-works were to transform interior design.

Morris’s wallpaper business survived up until 1940 when taken over after its liquidation, by Sanderson’s, the oldest brand in England in its field.

(1) ‘Collections for the improvement of husbandry and trade’.1669 John Houghton.

(2) Charles Voysey, wallpaper and furniture designer, inspired by Morris, opened his Chiswick Factory in 1902.

Ref: Colour Chemistry, RM Christie, Royal Society of Chemistry(GB), 2001.

Ref: Philosophical Trans. 1771 pp114-127.

Ref: Pic Images: googleimages and alamy.com.

Ref: 25.1.2010 Daily Mail/ article on arsenic.

18th July 1786. To the Glory of Whom-Man or God?

Kings Cambridge

King’s  College Chapel, window, Cambridge.

When most windows in medieval Britain had at the most coverings of linen or parchment, cathedral, church and abbey were acquiring some of the most exquisite coloured glass, produced in a process which was difficult, dangerous and expensive.

Medieval glass art lacked perspective and was stylized, and technically was of varying thickness and not free from air-bubbles, but it was the varying translucency despite imperfections, and the colour variations, which give it a glow never repeated.(see Addenda).

Most early glaziers are forgotten, except where employed by monarchs, as at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, where the Flemish craftsmen Barnard Flower and Galyon Hone were employed, to the disgust of the glaziers of London.

The glass at King’s reflects changing times from the Catholic Gothic tracery to the Humanism of the Renaissance, becoming  under Henry VIII, a celebration and kaleidoscope of the Tudor Dynasty. The Boleyn ‘Falcon’ was for example, discreetly changed to the Seymour ‘Phoenix’.

One of the best examples of medieval glass, though French, can be seen at the parish church of Twycross, Leicestershire, brought over at the time of the French Revolution and given initially to William IV, whose wife Adelaide, was a constant visitor nearby.


Twycross window.

However under Edward VI, an ardent Protestant, much decorative glass was destroyed.

Under the later Puritans and Commonwealth, glass was plain, as the rare example at Halifax Parish Church shows, and this continued into the Classical and Christopher Wren era.

However a new age was on the horizon when Today in 1786 ‘The Father of Victorian Stained Glass’,Thomas Willement was born in St. Marylebone, London.

He up to the 1860s was to have great influence on the rather sentimentalised stained glass we are familiar with in British churches and the older municipal buildings.

It was a time when medieval glass once prized, was now being discarded by the likes of James Wyatt in his restorations, for instance at Salisbury Cathedral where, ‘whole cartloads  of medieval glass, regarded as old-fashioned’, was dumped in the town ditch.(1)



Rose Window,Waltham Abbey.

Rose Window, Waltham Abbey. Essex.

The 19th century also saw fine church glass being designed by the Arts and Crafts Movement: Edward Burne-Jones, at Waltham Abbey Church (first consecrated on Holy Cross Day 31.5.1060) and the William Morris designed and crafted  at Tamworth Collegiate Church, and parish church at Wirksworth, Derbyshire.

(1) In 1860, for instance, when G.E. Street, when restoring St Mary the Virgin in Stone, Kent, regretted that the newly installed glass made by William Wailes, in imitation of the 12thc glass, in the quire of Canterbury Cathedral, did not in brilliancy of colour, ‘by any means equal the old school of painters in glass’.


Imported ‘Pot Metal‘ was the term used for the window glass coloured in its manufacture.

Before the diamond cutters of about 1500, glass was cut by drawing a hot iron across the surface and snapping it. It was trimmed with ‘grozing irons’, giving a bitten appearance.

Even more delicate was the refinement of ‘jewelling’ by which a hole was bored in a piece of glass using a bow-drill and a piece of a different colour fitted. This gave bright colour to the clothing of a saint, or as at Fairford, Gloucestershire, the eyes of a demon.

Colours apart from those provided by ‘pot metal’ came from fusing paint containing metal oxides and ground glass, added to the glass in the furnace. From the 14thc silver stain produced yellow and from the 16thc coloured enamel paints were used.

Ref: flickr.com/rose window image.

Ref: Daily Telegraph.stained glass at King College. Article Thomas Marks reviewing King’s College Glass Carola Hick. 29.12.2009.

Ref: ofchoristers.net/image of King’s College Glass.

Ref: professor-Moriarty/twycross image.

Ref: Stained Glass Roger Rosewell (Shire).

Ref: It is said by Howse that ‘the presence of images of donors was not to bring fame and status, but I would suggest that it was more a case of begging favouritism with the ‘almighty’ as the money spent on chantry chapels would suggest.’ Christopher Howse, Sacred Mysteries, Daily Telegraph. 14.7.2012.