Friday, September 7, 2012

Visit to May Morris

Some fascinating details from
A visit to May Morris
Margaret Horton

"I now feel quite at home as, pleasantly talking, she leads me upstairs,
downstairs, through the simple, carefully tended rooms. There is a sense
of space and peace, few but choice furnishings, a carved chest, a
rush-seated chair from Morris and Co., a Persian catpet. There are
strange, evocative objects, bringing one up sharply, heard of but hardly
believed, like things from Tutankhamen's tomb: Morris's Elizabethan
four-poster, with its embroidered legend (forty weeks to embroider)
'The wind's on the wold - And the night is a-cold - And Thames runs
chill .. .' (and cold it must have been in that 'passage room', 'covers and
hangings much needed .. .'). In the Tapestry Room so much associated
with Rossetti, the tall Samson figures, 'the indigo blues, the greys and
warm yellow browns', more faded and ancient than ever;' in the garden
room, a round table of English oak, typical Morris and Co., simple,
solid, almost immovable. In this room there is a hand loom with a
tapestry just begun. May Morris gets up early to work, as her father did.

The hand-dyed, hand-spun wools are bright reds, blues, greens,
yellows; flowers are growing in ever-fresh invention out of rhe grass,
into the air, a beginning as vital as spring. This I like best of all. The
house with its treasures and memories is being lovingly preserved but
better still the work and tradition is seen in action. In this room, Miss
Morris takes down from the wall two pastel drawings of herself and her
sister. 'These are by Rossetti.' I feel her pride. In spite of everything that
happened it is clear that as a child she loved Rossetti."

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