William Morris Lesson for Kids: Facts & Biography

Instructor: Anna Reinking

Anni taught elementary school for eight years and is currently teaching college. She received her Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction.

William Morris was a man of many talents. He was the 19th century's most influential designer. However, he didn't stop at designing: he also wrote and supported nature in design. In this lesson you'll learn about Morris and all his interesting jobs.

William Morris

Do you ever sit in class and doodle or make pictures? Do you ever see your friends making pictures of what they want their next shirt or pair of shoes to look like? Well, one man, William Morris, worked his lifetime to create new fabrics and designs, not only for clothes, but also for many other items we have around us today.

Throughout his life Morris designed fabric for clothes and designed wallpaper. He also wrote, published, and spoke out in support of issues he cared about. One of those issues was the debate about mass-producing creative pieces, such as fabrics, in factories versus the fine workmanship of designers. Morris believed that fine workmanship was much better.

William Morris

Young Morris

Morris was born on March 24, 1834, in Walthamstow, England. As a child he attended Marlborough School for three years. For college Morris attended Exeter College in Oxford. When he first went to school he wanted to be a clergyman, but that quickly changed when he met Edward Burne-Jones. Burne-Jones introduced him to other Pre-Raphaelite painters. Pre-Raphaelite painters worked hard to copy the simple designs of Italian artists before the time of the famous painter Raphael. Around this time in his life, Morris became more interested in architecture and painting. While he was studying with the Pre-Raphaelites he met his wife, Jane, who was a beautiful model for the Pre-Raphaelites. They later married in 1859 and moved into a house built by a friend. Morris then decorated the inside of his house with his creative designs.


While decorating the inside of his house, Morris began expanding his decorative interests and started to design furniture. Therefore, Morris and his friends decided to open their own company that focused on furnishings that included embroidery, tableware, furniture, stained class, tiles, and wallpaper. The company was called Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. As designs continued to come from their company, their influence was seen in churches and houses in the early 20th century.

A William Morris wallpaper design
William Morris Wallpaper Design

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