William Morris: A Life for Our Time

Front Cover
Faber & Faber, Jan 22, 2015 - Biography & Autobiography - 800 pages

Winner of the Wolfson History Prize, and described by A.S.Byatt as 'one of the finest biographies ever published', this is Fiona MacCarthy's magisterial biography of William Morris, legendary designer and father of the Victorian Arts and Crafts movement.

'Thrilling, absorbing and majestic.' Independent
'Wonderfully ambitious ... The definitive Morris biography.' Sunday Times
'Delicious and intelligent, full of shining detail and mysteries respected.' Daily Telegraph
'Oh, the careful detail of this marvellous book! . . . A model of scholarly biography'. New Statesman

Since his death in 1896, William Morris has been celebrated as a giant of the Victorian era. But his genius was so multifaceted and so profound that its full extent has rarely been grasped. Many people may find it hard to believe that the greatest English designer of his time - possibly of all time - could also be internationally renowned as a founder of the socialist movement, and ranked as a poet with Tennyson and Browning.

In her definitive biography - insightful, comprehensive, addictively readable - the award-winning Fiona MacCarthy gives us a richly detailed portrait of Morris's complex character for the first time, shedding light on his immense creative powers as artist and designer of furniture, fabrics, wallpaper, stained glass, tapestry, and books; his role as a poet, novelist and translator; on his psychology and his emotional life; his frenetic activities as polemicist and reformer; and his remarkable circle of friends, literary, artistic and political, including Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones. It is a masterpiece of biographical art.

What people are saying - Write a review

WILLIAM MORRIS: A Life for Our Time

User Review  - Kirkus

Morris's life of Pre-Raphaelite/Nordic poetry, medievalist arts and crafts, and socialist politics always makes for a readably overstuffed biography, and MacCarthy (Eric Gill, 1989, etc.) addresses ... Read full review

William Morris: a life for our time

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

"When William Morris was dying one of his physicians diagnosed his disease as 'simply being William Morris and having done more than most ten men."' This was in part true of the driven man who was a ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2015)

Fiona MacCarthy established herself as one of the leading writers of biography in Britain with her widely acclaimed book Eric Gill, published in 1989. Byron: Life and Legend was described by A. N. Wilson as 'a flawless triumph' and William Morris, described by A. S. Byatt as 'large, delicious and intelligent, full of shining detail', won the Wolfson History Prize and the Writers' Guild Non-Fiction Award. MacCarthy received the 2011 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography for The Last Pre-Raphaelite. She was awarded the OBE for services to literature in 2009. Her most recent book is Walter Gropius: Visionary Founder of the Bauhaus, which was Radio 4 Book of the Week in 2019.