‘A Heaven on Earth’: William Morris’ Kelmscott Manor Revived
Kelmscott Manor, Oxfordshire, is a rambling, limestone-built farmhouse that was the country home of writer and designer William Morris from 1871 until his death in 1896. It was also home to his wife Jane (‘Janey’), their children Jenny and May, and his friend, poet and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who shared it with them from 1871 until 1874. William Morris’s life and work as poet and designer, conservationist and socialist campaigner have made Kelmscott Manor internationally famous.
Morris thought of it as ‘a Heaven on Earth’, and loved every aspect of its ancient stone architecture, its barns, and meadows, and the village houses and landscape around it. The house remained the home of Morris’s wife Jane until her death in 1913 Their daughter May bequeathed the house after her death in 1938 to the University of Oxford. In the 1960s it passed to the Society of Antiquaries of London. Kelmscott has undergone a major programme of research and refurbishment, including returning some lost colour schemes, and recreating lost hangings and hand blocked wallpaper. The house will re-open to the public in April 2022.
Historian Jeremy Musson, FSA, author of the new guidebook on Kelmscott Manor will tell the story of the house and its remarkable owners, William and Jane Morris. He will illustrate the interiors and talk about the artistic and creative connections of this architectural treasure.