William Morris 1834 – 1896

William Morris


Father – William Morris
Mother – Emma Morris
Spouse – Jane Burden
Children – Jenny, Mary

1834 (21st March)
Born at Elm House, Walthamstow, Essex to William and Emma Morris. His parents were fairly wealthy middle class people. His father worked as a financier in London. He had two elder sisters Emma born 29th October1829 and Henrietta born 17th July 1833
1834 (25th July)
William was christened at St Mary’s Church, Walthamstow
1837 (2nd August)
William’s brother, Stanley (christened Hugh Stanley) was born
1840 (During)
The family moved to Woodford Hall, Woodford, Essex. They rented the property at a cost of £600 per month
1840 (30th August)
William’s brother, Arthur was born.
1842 (During)
William was taken, by his father, to visit Canterbury Cathedral and other churches in Kent and Essex
1842 (17th July)
William’s sister Isabella was born
1843 (During)
William attended the ‘Misses Arundale’s Academy for Young Gentlemen’ in Woodford as a day pupil
1844 (6th June)
William’s brother Edgar Llewellyn was born
1846 (5th May)
William’s sister Alice was born
1847 (8th September)
William’s father died
1848 (February)
William was sent to Marlborough College as a boarder
1848 (September)
The Morris family moved to Water House, Walthamstow, Essex
1849 (17th March)
William was confirmed by the Bishop of Salisbury in Marlborough College Chapel
1849 (April)
William visited Avebury where he spent much time looking at church architecture
1851 (December)
After coming fifth out of nine in his end of year exams, William was removed from Marlborough College and was taught by a private tutor, Reverand F B Guy.
1852 (2nd June)
William sat an entrance exam for Exeter College, Oxford
1853 (January)
William began studying theology at Exeter College, Oxford
1853 (During)
William became friends with Edward Burne-Jones. Having a mutual interest in Medieval buildings the pair spent much time visiting Medieval buildings and churches
1853 (November)
William wrote ‘The Dedication of the Temple’ thought to be his first poem
1854 (Summer)
William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones became aware of the Pre-Raphaelite Movement following the publication of John Ruskin’s Edinburgh Lectures
1854 (August)
William visited Belgium where he spent time looking at Medieval paintings.
1855 (Summer)
William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones took a tour of Northern France looking at paintings and architecture. Their itinerary included The Louvre Art Gallery in Paris as well as a visit to see the Bayeux Tapestry.
1856 (January)
William began work as an apprentice architect. His mentor was Philip Webb who became a good friend.
1856 (August)
William moved into a flat with Edward Burne-Jones in the centre of London
1856 (Autumn)
William was introduced to the painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti with whom Burne-Jones was an apprentice artist.
1856 (Autumn)
William Morris gave up his apprenticeship as an architect and decided to concentrate on painting instead.
1857 (March)
William Morris published a book of poems called ‘The Defence of Guenevere’. However, the book did not do well and reviews were mediocre.
1857 (October)
William met Jane Burden, a working class woman and asked her to model for him.
1858 (Spring)
William Morris became engaged to Jane Burden
1859 (26th April)
William Morris married Jane Burden. It was a low key wedding attended by just a few close friends. None of William’s family attended.
1859 (During)
Together with the architect Philip Webb, Morris designed The Red House for himself and his wife.
1861 (January)
A daughter Jane Alice Morris was born, she was known as Jenny.
1861 (11th April)
Morris, Ford Madox Brown, Edward Burne-Jones, Charles Faulkner, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, P. P. Marshall, and Philip Webb founded Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co a home furnishings company that would provide Medieval inspired carving, stained glass, metal-work, paper-hangings, chintzes (printed fabrics), and carpets.
1862 (March)
A second daughter, Mary “May” Morris was born.
1862 (May to November)
Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co exhibited at the Great London Exposition – an international exhibition of arts, technology and industry.
1862 (During)
Morris began designing wallpaper
1865 (Autumn)
Morris sold the Red House and moved to London
1867 (During)
Morris had become increasingly isolated from his wife who was spending more and more time with Rossetti.
1867 (During)
Morris published the poem ‘The Life and Death of Jason’
1870 (During)
Morris published the poem ‘The Earthly Paradise’
1871 (During)
Morris moved his family to Kelmscott Manor in Oxfordshire. The property was jointly leased with Rossetti
1871 (July)
Morris went on a trip to Iceland, having become deeply interested in the Icelandic sagas
1872 (During)
Morris published the poem ‘Love is Enough’
1873 (During)
Morris made a tour of northern Italy with Burne-Jones before making a second trip to Iceland. During the second Icelandic trip Morris became interested in Socialism
1875 (March)
William Morris decided to dissolve Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co and set up Morris & Co in its stead. The new company focused on textiles – design and print
1876 (During)
Morris’s daughter Jenny was diagnosed with Epilepsy
1877 (Spring)
Morris & Co opened its first store in London
1877 (During)
Morris published two works inspired by his visits to Iceland ‘Sigurd the Volsung’ and ‘The Fall of the Niblungs’
1877 (March)
Founded the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings
1878 (During)
Morris moved his family back to London having purchased Kelmscott House in Hammersmith
1880 (During)
Morris & Co were commissioned to work on the Throne Room of St James’s Palace.
1882 (During)
Morris published ‘Hopes and Fears of Art’
1883 (13th January)
Morris was made a Fellow of Exeter University
1884 (During)
Morris published two political socialist works ‘Art and Socialism’ and ‘A Summary of the Principles of Socialism’
1884 (December)
Morris founded the Socialist League
1885 (During)
Morris wrote two political pieces ‘Useful Work versus Useless Toil’ and ‘Chants for Socialists’.
1888 (May)
Socialism was taking up increasing amounts of his time and he began giving a collection of lectures entitled ‘Signs of Change’
1889 (July)
Morris attended the International Socialist Congress in Paris and on his return founded the Hammersmith Socialist League
1891 (January)
Morris founded the Kelmscott Press a printing establishment where Morris could print books that he considered the epitome of beauty
1892 (13th October)
The poet Alfred Lord Tennyson died. Morris was offered the position as Poet Laureate but declined the position.
1894 (During)
Morris published ‘The Wood Beyond the World’
1896 (3rd October)
Morris died at Kelmscott House


Published Dec 13, 2015 @ 1:03 pm – Updated – Dec 24, 2019 @ 6:55 pm


Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2015 – 2019). William Morris Timeline. Available: https://www.totallytimelines.com/william-morris-1834-1896 Last accessed February 25th, 2020