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

Monday, June 4, 2012

Our Fat Vic

I am sorry poor old Tennyson thought himself bound to write an ode on our fat Vic’s Jubilee: have you seen it? It is like Martin Tupper for all the world.” *

By the time of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887, William Morris was an ardent Socialist, and he clearly wasn't that keen on what the Queen represented. To mock her and the whole establishment of the monarchy, he had a collection of colorful nicknames for her. He called her “fat Vic” for obvious reasons; “Widow Guelph”, which drew on an old name from her family, transforming her into an ordinary widow rather than a royal; and “Empress Brown”, which saucily played on her close friendship with her servant, John Brown, after she'd become Empress of India.

Morris died the year before Fat Vic's diamond jubilee, but had he lived to see it, he wouldn't have liked it one bit.

* For the quotation, see p39 of this article.

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