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World famous Morris & Co designs at Art Gallery Te Puna

Jun '07
William Morris, the most influential British interior designer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is one of the greatest pattern designers of all time.

The Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu will be the only venue in New Zealand to exhibit a major exhibition of world famous Morris & Co designs, textiles and furnishings the first ever seen in this country from mid-March 2008.

Gallery Director Jenny Harper says it is a privilege to host this exhibition and pay tribute to the remarkable talent of one man who created such opulently handcrafted pieces of furniture and furnishings.

“Morris's works are exquisite design treasures. His creative talent and philosophy of handmade quality, with individual workers completing all stages of production, is thoroughly celebrated with the Morris & Co exhibition.”

Morris's designs, inspired by the Gothic period and medieval art, in which natural forms, flowers and animals are always discernible, came to be regarded as a “true English style”. His patterns have been constantly revived since the 1960s with many designs still available in England as well as in New Zealand.

Morris & Co, also the name of William Morris's London firm which operated in various incarnations from 1861 to 1940, will feature more than 100 pieces, including furniture, carpets, tapestries, wallpapers, embroideries and tiles.

Ms Harper says the exhibition is drawn from the collections of the Art Gallery of South Australia. From 1889 to 1929 the Barr Smith's furnished seven huge homes over three generations almost entirely in Morris designed and handcrafted pieces.

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