Sustainable Luxury: Morris & Co. Textiles and Wallpapers from The Huntington's Art Collections

Jul. 14, 2018Nov. 12, 2018
Huntington Art Gallery, Works on Paper Room

 

How can we make products affordable for everyone and at the same time achieve quality and sustainability? How can we create design that elevates utilitarian objects to the status of artwork? How can we guarantee humane working conditions for factory employees? Though such questions sound very of-the-moment, they had already been raised in 19th century England by William Morris (1834–1896). Acknowledged leader of the British Arts and Crafts movement, Morris started his own company in 1861 in response to what he felt were demoralizing mass production methods introduced by the industrial revolution. The Morris firm produced handcrafted decorative objects using methods that respected the environment and the people involved in their manufacture.

Inspired by historical patterns and employing ancient techniques such as block printing and natural dying, the firm produced a wide range of decorative arts, with textiles and wallpapers comprising a large portion of the artistic output. This exhibition presents a selection of 18 drawings, wallpapers and textiles from The Huntington´s holdings of Morris & Co. materials. From fascinating drawings by Morris and long-time collaborator John Henry Dearle, to colorful fabrics and wallpapers, "Sustainable Luxury" reveals the creative process from design to finished product.

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