Wednesday, May 30, 2012

William Morris's Kelmscott: Landscape and History

Edited by Alan Crossley, Tom Hassall and Peter Salway

ISBN: ISBN-13: 978-1-905119-13-4 (hdbk); ISBN-13: 978-1-905119-14-1 pbk; 256pp, col and b/w ills

Distributor: Oxbow Books

Kelmscott Manor is forever linked with the name of William Morris, pioneer conservationist and utopian socialist, designer and father of the Arts and Crafts tradition. The manor played a crucial role in shaping his thought: at the climactic moment of his futuristic novel, News from Nowhere, Morris lifts the latch of the Manors garden gate and finds his personal holy grail. Morris was drawn by the organic relationship between Kelmscott and its landscape: the linkage of stone walls and roof tiles to the geology and the soil, and the honest toil of the people to the agricultural cycle .

The fruits of the Kelmscott Landcape Project established in 1996 by the Society of Antiquaries of London, the owners of Kelmscott Manor today, this book is a multi-faceted examination of Kelmscotts history. Archaeology, from prehistory to the present day, the architectural development of the Manor before and after Morris knew it, and the art that the village and Manor have inspiredall received rich, illustrated coverage. The result is a vivid portrait of a Thames-side village transformed by its association with Morris, a book which demonstrates the rich connections between culture and landscape in a particular place.

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