A blog about the famous Victorian poet, designer, and Socialist, William Morris.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

May Morris's 150th Year

May Morris in a painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1872

2012 is May Morris's 150th anniversary year, an occasion that the Royal Mail (UK) marked with bringing out a stamp featuring one of her lush embroideries.

May, Morris's second daughter, was an impressive textile designer and artist in her own right; she was also a close partner to her father during his years of Socialist activity. After her parents passed away, she lived out her days at Kelmscott Manor, with her devoted companion (and possible lover) Miss Lobb.

Marjorie Breakspear, the niece of one of May's friends, wrote a beautiful account of her days living in a cottage on Kelmscott Manor's grounds, and of her memories of May. May, though quieter than the brash Miss Lobb, was evidently up for a laugh:

“...May Morris came and dug up our potatoes, and it was a good joke for her when we offered to pay her at the current rate! She accepted the money, with much laughter, and spat on it in her hands, as she had seen the farm labourers do. She also kept goats, and loved the kids, gambolling over her head and shoulders. She liked knitting, but not crochet, and her favourite colour was a soft blue.”

Happy 150th birth-year, May Morris!

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