Museum of the year: William Morris Gallery

Posted on July 19, 2013 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

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I have been wanting to visit the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow for a while but never seem to get a chance... Last month, the gallery has been awarded the winner of the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2013, and so I was determined to pay the gallery a special visit.

I have been to this area about three times before, twice to visit a friend and once to see dog-racing! The visit to the gallery has also given me an opportunity to explore this rather multicultural part of London.

 

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The William Morris Gallery is housed in a grade II* listed Georgian house, built in the 1740s and set in Lloyd Park in Walthamstow, home of Morris's family from 1848 to 1856. The historic house was fully refurbished in 2012, with new collection displays on the ground and first floors, along with a learning and research centre, a tea room, a special exhibition gallery and a collection store.

 

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The collection includes old photographs, furniture, stained glass, wallpaper, textiles, tiles, sculptures, prints, drawings and books etc. Walking around the house, it is hard not to be inspired or impressed by Morris' wide range of skills, and most importantly, his evolutionary 'design thinking'. As a leading member of the Arts and Crafts Movement, Morris’s passion for quality craftsmanship, natural materials and a simple way of life ( reflected in his designs) was said to be anti-industrialisation. His ideas and thinking ( including his socialist ones) is more relevant than ever in our Western society today, so have we gone full circle after all these years? Interesting...

 

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 The art of embroidery: Nicola Jarvis and May Morris exhibition

 

I think the architects and curators have done a brilliant job in the refurbishment, curation and arrangements in the gallery. Even the gallery's tea room in a conservatory is bright, airy and welcoming. I also love the back garden, which is connected to Llyod park, it not only enhance the visitors' overall experience but it is very much appreciated by the local residents too.

As much as I enjoy the larger museums in town like the V & A and British Museums etc, I am often put off by the number of tourists there esp. in the summer. The fact that this gallery is not so touristy and it provides activities for families makes this more of a destination for Londoners who want to be inspired but preferably in peace without the chaos! The truth is that with or without the tourists, this wonderful gallery still rightfully deserves to be the Museum of the year!

 

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The Art of embroidery exhibition ( Wednesday to Sunday ) will continue until 22 September 2013.

 


This post was posted in London, Exhibitions, British designs, Art, Traditional arts & crafts, Gardens & parks and was tagged with London, art and design exhibitions, gardens, British design, traditional crafts, William Morris

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