PHILIP WEBB

Webb met William Morris in G.E. Street’s office in Oxford. His subsequent architectural practice as well as his design career were bound up in the fortunes of the Morris firm. Commissions for both were interdependent, Webb specifying the Morris firm as decorators and Morris recommending Webb as architect. Webb was responsible for the decorative scheme in an early Morris commission, the ‘Green Dining Room’ at the South Kensington Museum (still intact and recently restored by the Victoria and Albert Museum) and drew almost all the birds and animal’s in Morris’ fabric, tapestry and wallpaper designs. He was commissioned by Morris to design table glass by Powell’s and furniture for the Red House in 1859. Webb provided furniture designs for Major Gillum in 1860 and for the Morris firm in 1861 until the responsibility was taken over by his assistant George Jack in the 1880s. Metalwork for gates and fireplaces was executed by Longden, whose London premises were next to Morris & Co.’s showrooms. He used he distinguished carver James Forsyth, who had also worked for R. Norman Shaw, his successor in Street’s office, and W.E. Nesfield among others. Webb retired in 1900, unable to come to terms with what he foresaw as the future of architecture. Shaw described him as ‘A very able man indeed, but with a strong liking for the ugly’.