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British Industrial History

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Morris and Co

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Note: Not to be confused with William Morris and Co (Westminster)

of 8 Red Lion Square; of Merton Abbey (1881).

The firm's Showrooms were from 1878: 449 Oxford St London W. and moving later 1918-1940 to 17 St George St, Hanover Square London W1

1861 William Morris (1834-1896), designer, author, and visionary socialist, established his company, Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Co, with seven partners who worked initially on decorations for new and restored churches. The original partners were:

  • Ford Madox Brown
  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti
  • Peter Paul Marshall
  • Philip Webb
  • Charles James Faulkner
  • Edward Burne-Jones
  • William Morris

1862 Exhibited at the International Exhibition at South Kensington, winning two gold medals and a special jury mention for the colour and design of its stained glass. Their catalogues offered painted furniture, mural decoration, metalware and glass, embroidery and hangings, jewellery, and hand-painted tiles.

1862 The first of William Morris's wallpapers were produced by Jeffrey and Co (Islington).

1865 Workshop moved to 26 Queen Square, Bloomsbury.

1875. Partnership dissolved. '... the Partnership heretofore subsisting between us the undersigned, Ford Madox Brown, Charles Joseph Faulkner, Edward Burne Jones, Peter Paul Marshall, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Philip Webb, and William Morris, trading as Morris, Marshall, Faulkner, and Co., and Morris and Co., as Fine Art Workmen in Painting, Carving, Stained Glass, Furniture, and the Metals, at No. 26, Queen-square, Bloomsbury, in the county of Middlesex, has been dissolved by mutual consent; and that the said business will henceforth be carried on solely by the said William Morris...'[1]

1875 Commissions from the South Kensington Museum and from St James's Palace.

1881 Morris and Co moved to larger premises at Merton Abbey in south London. Carried out dyeing and block printing, rug and carpet making, and developing tapestry.

1890s The Merton Abbey factory employed around 100 people. Stained glass to Edward Burne-Jones's designs was supplied for St Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham, and many tapestry works for other clients.

1896 William Morris died. The factory at Merton Abbey continued under Frank and Robert Smith, with John Henry Dearle promoted to Art Director.

1905 the Company was renamed Morris and Co. Decorators Ltd., under the directorship of Henry Marillier.

1910 William Morris and Co (Ruskin House) Ltd, catalogue of designs for window casements, architectural metal work, and glazing. Written, illustrated and published by Morris and Company[2].

1922 Stained Glass, Leaded Lights, Metal Casements, Brasses, Mosaics, and Wrought Metal Work, of Ruskin House, Rochester Row, Westminster, London S.W.

1925 the Company was renamed again as Morris and Company Artworkers Ltd., with John Henry Dearle as the Art Director.

1932 On the death of Dearle, quality declined and market share fell.

1940 the Company went into liquidation. Sanderson and Sons purchased the Company, together with all the printing blocks, showroom wallpaper and fabric samples, stocks and stand books for £400. The block printed wallpapers continued to be produced at Sanderson's Perivale factory.

1945 The craftsmen of William Morris and Co made a commemorative mace for Westminster Abbey in their own time, being otherwise fully engaged in war work[3].

1965 Sandersons re-launched Morris and Co. wallpapers and fabrics

1985 the Morris and Co. and Sanderson brands were marketed under their separate identities.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The London Gazette Publication date:6 April 1875 Issue:24197 Page:2000
  2. Metropolitan Museum of Art catalogue[1]
  3. The Times, 21 May 1945
  • Biography of William Morris, ODNB [2]
  • Morris and Co website[3]