William Morris

English designer, writer and socialist. Trained as an architect, Morris mixed in Pre -Raphaelite circles before founding his own firm in 1861, which became Morris & Co in 1875. Through his ideas on utility and beauty in design, coupled with his socialist principles, he became the defining figure of the Arts and Crafts Movement. He drew on medieval motifs and designed furniture, stained glass, wallpaper and fabrics. His use of stylised flora] and organic forms in his patterns was influential in the evolution of Art Nouveau, and his ideas on the primacy of craftsmanship also had resonance for many Art Nouveau artists. However, his deep distrust of modernity, encapsulated in his novel News from Nowhere (1890) seemed retrograde to those who sought to exploit new materials and modern methods of production.