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 October 1829 and Henrietta born 17th July 1833.
1834 (25th July)
William was christened at St Mary’s Church, Walthamstow.
1837 (2nd August)
William’s brother, Hugh Stanley Morris, known as Stanley was born to William and Emma Morris.
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.
William was taken, by his father, to visit Canterbury Cathedral and other churches in Kent and Essex. He was impressed by the architecture.
1842 (17th July)
William’s sister Isabella was born.
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 unexpectedly. This had an effect on the family finances.
William Morris was sent to Marlborough College as a boarder.
The Morris family sold Woodford Hall and moved to a smaller property, Water House, Walthamstow, Essex.
1849 (17th March)
William was confirmed by the Bishop of Salisbury in Marlborough College Chapel.
William visited Avebury where he spent much time looking at church architecture.
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 and passed an entrance exam for Exeter College, Oxford.
Morris began studying theology at Exeter College, Oxford
William became friends with Edward Burne-Jones. Having a mutual interest in Medieval buildings the pair spent much time visiting Medieval buildings and churches.
William wrote ‘The Dedication of the Temple’ which is thought to be his first poem.
William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones became aware of the Pre-Raphaelite Movement following the publication of John Ruskin’s Edinburgh Lectures.
William visited Belgium where he spent time looking at Medieval paintings.
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.
Morris began work as an apprentice architect. His mentor was Philip Webb who became a good friend.
William moved into a flat with Edward Burne-Jones in the centre of London.
William was introduced to the painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti who was a mentor to Burne-Jones.
William Morris gave up his apprenticeship as an architect and decided to concentrate on painting instead.
Morris published a book of poems called ‘The Defence of Guenevere’. However, the book did not do well and reviews were mediocre.
William met Jane Burden, a working class woman and asked her to model for him.
William Morris painted ‘La Belle Iseult’.
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. After the wedding they left for a honeymoon in Bruges.
Together with the architect Philip Webb, Morris designed The Red House for himself and his wife.
A daughter Jane Alice Morris was born to William and Jane Morris. 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.
A second daughter, Mary “May” Morris was born to Morris and his wife.
1862 (May to November)
Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co exhibited at the Great London Exposition – an international exhibition of arts, technology and industry.
Morris began designing wallpaper.
Morris sold the Red House and moved to London.
William Morris had become increasingly isolated from his wife who was spending more and more time with Rossetti.
Morris published the poem ‘The Life and Death of Jason’.
Morris published the poem ‘The Earthly Paradise’.
Morris moved his family to Kelmscott Manor in Oxfordshire. The property was jointly leased with Rossetti.
Morris went on a trip to Iceland, having become deeply interested in the Icelandic sagas.
Morris published the poem ‘Love is Enough’.
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.
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.
Morris’s daughter Jenny was diagnosed with epilepsy.
Morris & Co opened its first store in London.
William published two works inspired by his visits to Iceland:’Sigurd the Volsung’ and ‘The Fall of the Niblungs’.
William Morris founded the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings.
Morris moved his family back to London having purchased Kelmscott House in Hammersmith
Morris & Co were commissioned to work on the Throne Room of St James’s Palace.
Morris published ‘Hopes and Fears of Art’, a collection of poetry, fiction and essays.
1883 (13th January)
Morris was made a Fellow of Exeter University.
Morris published two political socialist works ‘Art and Socialism’ and ‘A Summary of the Principles of Socialism’.
Morris founded the Socialist League.
Morris wrote two political pieces ‘Useful Work versus Useless Toil’ and ‘Chants for Socialists’.
Socialism was taking up increasing amounts of his time and he began giving a collection of lectures entitled ‘Signs of Change’.
Morris attended the International Socialist Congress in Paris and on his return founded the Hammersmith Socialist League.
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.
Morris published ‘The Wood Beyond the World’ a collection of poetry, essays and fiction.
1896 (3rd October)
William Morris died at Kelmscott House, Hammersmith, Middlesex.