William Morris Gallery Visit

The William Morris Gallery re-opened yesterday and Neri took me there today as a treat. I have mixed feelings about it to be honest. The house itself is beautiful, with a wonderfully generous landing at the top of the central staircase. I would love to design a house with an open room of this scale which a staircase leads in to.

The works on display are interesting, including the "Walthamstow Tapestry", a work by man of the moment Grayson Perry. He seems to be everyone's favourite artist right now, and is everywhere, but I think he is wonderful - the makings of a national treasure. His show at the BM was truly inspirational (thanks Bea). I remember him coming to lecture at the Ruskin and give one-to-one tutorials afterwards in drag. He turned all the lecture theatre seats round by 90 degrees so we faced a wall we had never looked at before.

Anyway, back to Morris, whose lovely childhood home has been turned in to a play centre for groups of school children, with each room filled with giant jigsaws and interactive multi-media. I am all for getting children in to art, and going to galleries, but there is a limit.

There is an extension that houses what I think is a non permanent collection / show (where Grayson's brilliant tapestry is currently) and a café. Very good Earl Grey, but swamped with Walthamstow yummy mummys drinking frappucinos like there's no tomorrow, relieved to have found a middle-class hang out after such a dirth.

All the furniture is revolting - and I do not know how it has been allowed, when the curating (of the works that are not playground games) is so in-keeping and tastful.

I photographed a collection of his rush seats which includes a 3-seater I had not seen before. I also bought a postcard with a picture of Morris' daughter May on it. I think she is very beautiful in a strange English Rose way, and she looks so like Burne-Jones' model too?


Also, the front driveway of the house always had a kind of circular lawn in the middle. They have adapted the steps at the front and installed ramps for disabled access using the correct stone and that all looks fine - but the circular section has a curb made from a kind of granite composite and it looks dreadful.

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