Talk:William Morris

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Good article William Morris has been listed as one of the Art and architecture good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
August 24, 2008 Good article nominee Listed
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possible changes[edit]

I don't know how one corrects Wikipedia's own comments, but the heading- "This page is about William Edward Morris, the Scottish writer, designer, artist and socialist. For other people see William Morris (disambiguation)" -is bizarrely incorrect. Morris is not Scottish in any way, and his middle name was not Edward, as he had no middle name. He was born in Walthamstow, and both his parents were from Worcester. His paternal ancestors on both sides were Welsh, if one goes back far enough. I am very confused at this "ambiguation" note, and wonder if anyone can correct it. 64.230.109.21 (talk) 03:45, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

Fixed now, it seems to be a remnant of a whole series of subtle vandalism, and no one caught it. - PKM (talk) 04:06, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

I'm not normally a contributor to wikimedia, so I don't know if it is appropriate for me just to wade in and make changes here; I'll say what I intend to do, and come back in a few days to see if anyone has said not to...

  1. The 'overview' is opinionated - in my view plain wrong, but certainly not neutral POV, and should be dropped.
  2. The end note about IKEA is irrelevant and should be dropped
  3. Morris was famous in his own life as (and saw himself as) a poet. An encyclopedia entry which doesn't say more about this has something mssing, and I propose adding a new subsection

Marinheiro 20:41, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

Made those changes; I think it reads ok, though the (very good) section on the Kelmscott Press is a little out of place following Morris' death in the previous paragraph..

The problem with Morris is that he did so many totally different things exceptionally well it's difficult to stop a short article being rather 'bitty'. It also means he certainly can't be pigion-holed into a single 'category'.

Marinheiro 23:36, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

I've never commented or edited anything here, but I find the bit in the paragraph on Commonweal where it identifies that magazine as the "first place his published [work]" began to appear inaccurate. In fact, he had published poems and other writings in the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine and elsewhere decades earlier. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 50.98.3.174 (talk) 22:58, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

name change[edit]

I've made a copy-edit that may offend some -- I have changed Morris' to Morris's throughout, as both forms were present, and the former is strictly incorrect. Adams' is fine, as the final s sounds like a plural, Jesus' and Herodutus' are conventional, but the final s in Morris is not the same sound as the plural or possessive, so Morris' is simply wrong (and anyone who writes Marx' should be shot :-)).

I've made a quick check through the history, and I think Morris's precedes Morris', if this is taken as a cis-/trans-atlantic English difference (ie US/UK). BrendanH 15:00, Apr 16, 2004 (UTC)

I'm being a complete pedant, and I have "reverted" to "Morris's" (and dropped the apostrophe after "Press" where it could be taken as adjectival), on the same grounds that I did nearly two years ago. "Morris'" is simply not correct, though common in the US. Most style guides that I have looked at (Handbook of MLA, Chicago Manual of Style, Strunk and White, Hart's Rules) either counsel against it or give examples like "Paris's". BrendanH 22:01, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
Jesus's, Herodotus's and Adams's are correct, not Jesus', Herodotus' and Adams'. Style guides always warn against doing that even if it is a common era. 86.162.148.188 (talk) 20:46, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
Or a common error? Headhitter (talk) 14:24, 19 December 2013 (UTC)

Categories[edit]

It is policy (see Wikipedia:categories) that it should be obvious to anyone, coming from the category to the article, why the article is in the category. In other words, before categorizing Morris as a Marxist theorist, discuss News from Nowhere and the socialist essays. (The result of the discussion may lead to Category:anarchists as well, or instead; but that's a question to be established by editing.)Septentrionalis 04:00, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

Critique of Morris link[edit]

A critique of Morris can be found on [1]. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Szczels (talkcontribs) (08:59, 3 February 2006)

Socialism[edit]

I was wondering if the scoialism section should be expanded more. Morris was at first a supporter of Gladstone as he was against Disraeli's agressive foreign policy but then grew disillusioned under Gladstones government. Although remembered as a poet he was influential at the time as well (Trafalgar square riot etc). I'm not the man for the job but I think this is quite a key area, and one that many people would say should be expanded. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 195.92.40.49 (talkcontribs) (12:25, 9 May 2006)

I agree - this section as it stands now (March 09) is not only incomplete but somewhat misleading. I'm going to add just a couple of lines drawn from the Thompson biography and hope that there's a Morris scholar out there who will do more.
I was rewriting The Socialist League today and ported relevant bits over here. You are right that the former Socialism section was wholly inadequate. Hopefully things are a little better now. Carrite (talk) 04:09, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Page reorganization and edits[edit]

I made some fairly substantial changes to the article, and I want to spell out my reasons here:

  • First, I moved most of the opening down, and split it into three sections, because it made more sense to discuss that substantial span of time between his birth and his meeting the other future Pre-Raphaelites in the main text than crammed into the opening.
  • I also created a new section for his writings, under which I created subsections on poetry, translations, and his fantasy writing.

Now, the sections on this early life, education, the Pre-Raphaelites, etc., need to be expanded. And, how can there be little or no mention in this article of the Arts and Crafts Movement? Many improvements still to be made. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 02:18, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Sale of important Morris piece[edit]

I don't know if it's worthy of inclusion, but a major tapestry by the Morris Workshop currently owned by Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page is being sold. [2] Anchoress · Weigh Anchor · Catacomb 03:02, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

Jimmy Page owns the Holy Grail tapestry? Wow. Thanks for posting that. - PKM (talk) 16:03, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

a cousin of mine sold a carpet in the nineties for about AU$300,000. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Plumes (talkcontribs) 20:59, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Textiles[edit]

I've added some basic info on embroidery, printed and woven textiles, and tapestry.

Some to-do's:

  • Carpets
  • How Morris's preference for medieval tapestry and dislike of renaissance styles threw the latter out of favor for about 100 years (I have a reference on this, have to dig it up); it's an important indicator of the impact of Morris's aesthetic.

- PKM (talk) 23:45, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Color Picture Please[edit]

Is it possible to update this to a color picture? This painting looks like it would be great in color. 76.117.2.182 (talk) 05:31, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

Quite right; just took me a while to find one to scan. Done! - PKM (talk) 03:42, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:William Morris/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Hello. I'll be doing the GA review for this article. Here are some suggestions for improvement:

  • Per WP:LEAD, the lead should summarize all the main points of the article. For an article this size, it should be three or four full paragraphs.
    • Done - PKM (talk) 18:00, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
  • His biography only has one citation. Inline citations are needed for verifiability. This applies to the entire article.
    • I've expanded the biography significantly with material from the 1911 Britannica. I'll add some polish and additional citations as time permits. - PKM (talk) 00:29, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
    • Added more citations, and expanded. - PKM (talk) 17:59, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
    • Done. - PKM (talk) 18:00, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
  • The legacy section needs to be expanded, so it isn't comprised of three one to two sentence paragraphs.
    • Done. - PKM (talk) 18:00, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Notable collections and house museums needs to be turned into prose.
    • Done. - PKM (talk) 00:29, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
  • The pictures need to be next to the text that describes/mentions them. If there are too many pictures for this to be the case, consider trimming out the ones of lesser importance and moving them to the gallery.
    • Improved, I hope. - PKM (talk) 00:29, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
    • And another round, with more images. - PKM (talk) 17:59, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
    • Done now. - PKM (talk) 20:53, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

The article will be on hold for seven days to make these initial changes. Nikki311 20:09, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

    • Thanks. Actually, as a contributor I oppose GA status for this article - the bio section needs serious work. - PKM (talk) 22:28, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
      • I agree, but I thought I'd give the nominator the chance to improve. I've reviewed some articles that have gone through some pretty magnificent overhauls during the hold week. Nikki311 22:35, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
        • Fair enough! - PKM (talk) 21:53, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
    • Having expanded the biography significantly, I am withdrawing my objection in principle, though this still needs work. - PKM (talk) 00:29, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
    • The article is now at 43KB 47KB, do we need to consider removing Kelmscott Press (wuth its list of works) to its own article? - PKM (talk) 20:53, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
    • Expanded translations, Red House Morris & Co., textiles along with bio. Still needed, I think: More on marriage, more on Kelmscott Manor, critical assessment (in Legacy) and as Nikki stated above, a proper lead. - PKM (talk) 20:53, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
      • I think it is notable enough to have its own article, but that's up to you. I usually don't start making new articles until it hits around 60 or so. Since there is still more info to add to the areas you mentioned above, it might be a good idea. Also, I'm going to allow more than a week, since you are making so much progress. Just let me know here when you are done adding what you wanted to add, and I'll look it over for a more thorough review. Nikki311 23:19, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
        • I've reworked the "Morris Today" section as "Legacy" but that's about all I will get done this weekend. It's become very long. Perhaps the blockquote is too much? I'd appreciate your thoughts at this stage. Thanks! - PKM (talk) 23:57, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
        • Lead expanded. We're now at 53KB, so maybe it's not too long. I still want to tighten up the prose here and there. - PKM (talk) 17:54, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
        • Still to do: Morris's design aesthetic (it's in my bones, just need to find the right citations to back that up). - PKM (talk) 18:00, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
          • Done. - PKM (talk) 21:34, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
    • I think this is ready for re-review now. - PKM (talk) 21:19, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Re-review[edit]

Okay. I've looked over the new/expanded version, and here are the initial things that jumped out at me:

  • The lead is too long. It is supposed to be just a summary, and right now, it reads more like a narrative.
    • Shortened. - PKM (talk) 03:01, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
  • I like pictures as much as the next person, but I still think there are too many. Really, there should only be pictures when it aides in the understanding of the text to which it is adjacent. All the other images can be moved to the gallery.
    • Done. - PKM (talk) 03:48, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
  • The poetry section could use some citations.
    • Done. - PKM (talk) 02:40, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
  • The couple of web sources need to be formatted with Template:cite web.
    • Done. - PKM (talk) 20:13, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

I'll check the text more in more depth when these are fixed. Nikki311 01:38, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

    • The comment about moving images to the gallery is interesting; in the FA reviews I have observed, the push is always to move images into the text. As it happens, there's a very similar gallery, only better organized, in Morris & Co., and I think I'll reduce some duplication of images.
    • Anyway, I will tackle these fixes next. - PKM (talk) 03:05, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
    • All done and ready for review again. - PKM (talk) 02:40, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

Wow. It is looking like a completely different article! Here are the last (I think) suggestions and/or questions:

  • The marriage and family section needs citations, especially the second paragraph.
    • Done (expanded a bit and added citations). - PKM (talk) 04:30, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
  • The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems - do you mean defense or is that the British-English spelling?
    • Yes that's the British spelling. - PKM (talk) 03:44, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

That's it. Add a few cites in that one small section, and I'll feel very comfortable passing this to GA. Nikki311 01:04, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

Truly impressive work. This article is now a GA. Nikki311 16:27, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

Whoo-hoo!! Thank you, Nikki. - PKM (talk) 16:33, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

Copy-and-paste[edit]

This article was once (a year or so ago) too short and rather patchy, but recognizeably a wikipedia entry. Now the main body is mostly a cut-and-paste job from a 1911 encyclopedia with incredibly stilted english, coyly dated attitudes and euphemisms (re Jane's affairs), dated political attitudes (what modern reader would know what 'the advanced party' meant in a contemporary text) etc. So it's got references. How does that make it a good article? You would be better off reading the 1911 encyclopedia article directly, at least there it's clear exactly what it is that you're reading. Annoyed, Marinheiro (talk) 16:04, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

Also - the photo of the 'Morris chair' - shouldn't it be made clear this isn't a chair designed by Morris, but a modern chair in the style called a 'Morris chair' which is a distant descendant of Morris's own chairs? See http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/morris/morisco.html for some pictures of the actual (quite different) chairs made by Morris & co. Marinheiro (talk) 16:18, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

A year ago the article was short, patchy, and dead wrong on many important facts. Between excerpts from the 1911 EB and from the Mackail biography, there is a lot of old-fashioned prose here, and hopefully over time editors will find the time to improve the text.
I completely agree about the Morris chair photo, and I have removed it. A better option would be to add a discussion of Morris chairs with period photos at Morris & Co.. - PKM (talk) 17:32, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

I don't remember anything wrong about the older article. I'll try to be specific about some of the things I think are wrong about the current one. I'm not correcting them on the page itself because in some cases I'm not certain I'm right, and in others it would mean changing more than isolated 'facts'. I'm concentrating on the section on socialism because that's the part I know more about, but I suspect there are as many problems with the other bits; eg.

The frescoes, done too soon and too fast, began to fade at once and are now barely decipherable; but the broken designs, so long as any vestige remains, will always be interesting as a relic of an important aesthetic movement and as the first attempt on Morris's part towards the decorative arts.

I believe this was the case in 1911 but that there is nothing of them left now. Does any reader here know for sure?

Anyway, the section entitled Socialism. This is Mackail's view, and is intended to minimize Morris's involvement. There is a strong statement of this in Thompson's biography. In particular, he tries to shorten the time that Morris was involved:

Thenceforward for two years his advocacy of the cause of socialism absorbed not only his spare time, but the thought and energy of all his working hours.

This is easy to disprove: Nick Salmon's day-by-day chronology of Morris's life (http://www.marxists.org/archive/morris/works/chrono.htm) shows that for the whole period up to the founding of the Kelmscott press he was doing almost nothing but socialist-related activities; that is, for a period of 10, not two, years.

Mackail goes on:

For it he even neglected literature and art.

Rubbish. What are News from Nowhere, Poems by the Way, the Dream of John Ball, The House of the Wolfings etc? Don't they count as literature because they have a socialist content?


Mackail:

February 1885 a new organ, Commonweal, began to print Morris's rallying-songs

True, but not mentioning that Morris was funding, editing, and practically writing the whole thing single-handed is pretty misleading

Mackail:

in February 1886, Morris remonstrated with the anarchic section he was denounced by the advanced party and ever afterwards was regarded with suspicion.

What on earth did this mean? In fact he tried to mediate between the anarchists and the Engels clique and ended up pleasing neither. So who in this sentence are 'the advanced party'? I would guess Engels, except that Engels didn't ever 'denounce' him in public and thought he was too soft on the anarchists, not too hard. And who is meant to have 'regarded him with suspicion'. This sentence is a mix of factual wrongness and complete incomprehensibility.

Mackail:

in 1889 [ .. ]gradually lost all confidence in the movement as an active force

Again, very misleading. Here's a description of Morris giving a socialist speech the year before he died:

The last time I saw Morris he was speaking from a lorry pitched on a piece of waste land close to the Ship Canal... It was a wild March Sunday morning, and he would not have been asked to speak out of doors, but he had expressed a desire to do so, and so there he was, talking with quiet strenuousness, drawing a laugh now and then from the undulating crowd, of working men mostly, who stood in the hollow and on the slopes before him... Many there were hearing and seeing the man for the first time, most of us were hearing him for the last time; and we all looked and listened as though we knew it.

You could argue the sentence is based on the words 'active force', that he believed in the ideas but no longer in the socialist party. But Mackail omits to say that he began working for the SDF again after 1889.

Marinheiro (talk) 15:03, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for that cogent analysis of the problems with the sections on socialism; that is not my strong suit, as I am more interested in textile arts, poetry, and the Kelmscott press, and as a result I took my sources as I found them. What I am trying for is a complete picture of the man in all his interests and impacts.
The rewrite was a (possibly overly hasty) response to a GA article nomination that I felt would do wikipedia a disservice if passed as the article then stood.
Since you seem to have a grasp on the socialist aspect of Morris's life, could we persuade you to make the appropriate edits in the article? I was hoping someone with an understanding of the wider context would do so. - PKM (talk) 19:36, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

After a huge delay I finally got around to reorganizing some of the section on Socialism. I don't edit much on wikipedia and am not too sure of referencing requirements - I can back up pretty much any statement I've added with a reference if needed - please point it out if you think it does! In the meantime I've just added a reference to Nick Salmon's 'Chronology' which does cover a lot of the points made. Marinheiro (talk) 23:10, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

Just want to point out that one paragraph is taken verbatim from Mackail's lecture: "For several years after his marriage . . ." See pages 9 and 10 of William Morris: An Address Delivered . . . Purslane (talk) 17:38, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

Graphic position[edit]

The LEFT / RIGHT / LEFT / RIGHT / LEFT / RIGHT placement of graphics was quite a mess and made things very uncomfortable to read and navigate. I took some time getting all the graphics shifted to the right, where they help illustrate without impeding the flow. Please don't be in a hurry to revert this, it's a lot better than it was, I think. Carrite (talk) 04:12, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Alternating images left and right is standard, approved procedure. I am sorry you spent so much time moving the images around, because I don't think it improves the article at all - the images are not more closely placed with their associated text. - PKM (talk) 01:34, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Introduction[edit]

The current introduction has two paragraphs. They read like two alternate introductions, rather than complementing one another. The second paragraph has no material that isn't in the body of the article. I'm going to merge some of the second para in with the first and delete the rest. If anyone objects to this and reverts it, could you leave an explanation here? Thanks. Marinheiro (talk) 20:46, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Go for it. I'm wrapped up in another project, but I'll look over the other edits soon. - PKM (talk) 06:24, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

Suggestion for Monuments[edit]

I lived in William Morris tower at University of Essex. http://www.flickr.com/photos/ratarsed/3974652447/

One of my professors pointed out the irony that a proponent of handmade textiles would be memorialized by this building. If the image above isn't enough for you, please note that this building is one of a quartet. I was looking for this information online to share with a friend (it is a story that has stuck with me) and didn't find any discussion of how inappropriate this 'monument' to William Morris is.

I'm not a wikipedia contributor, so I thought I'd post this here. Someone who knows all the etiquette perhaps will be moved to make the edit. 71.191.145.236 (talk) 16:48, 14 May 2012 (UTC) John W.

Not sure how we'd work it in, but it's certainly a bit ironic. Though, actually, the building does have a certain beauty in the photograph ... pity about the dustbins, tho'. Chiswick Chap (talk) 20:51, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

notable collection at University of Maryland Libraries[edit]

Hello all. My name is Eric Cartier and I work at the University of Maryland Libraries, which has a significant William Morris collection, some of which is featured in our current exhibition How We Might Live: The Vision of William Morris. Have a look at our holdings here: http://lib.guides.umd.edu/william_morris If others believe our collection to be notable, would someone be willing to write a line or two about and externally link to our collection guide? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ecartier (talkcontribs) 17:41, 31 May 2013 (UTC)

Libertarian Marxist citation needed[edit]

i added a tag which was reverted without discussion. [3]. the reverting editor stated this was explained in the body, which is fine, however, i still request the specific citation as none of the current sources even mention libertarian, much less the far more rare Libertarian Marxist. Darkstar1st (talk) 09:43, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

'and' in section heading[edit]

Not convinced of the need to have 'Red House and Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co: 1859–65' as a section heading; aside from a general feeling that 'A and B' generally means 2 sections, in this case the B is already the next section of the article. Suggest we revert to 'Red House' and simply move the company material to the next section. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:04, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

Apologies for the late reply, but I have only just checked the talk page. I can appreciate your viewpoint Chiswick Chap, however I believe that the reforms are better than the original system, given that they adopt a chronological, as opposed to thematic, approach to Morris' life; and that is what Wikipedia convention (and perhaps also policy?) supports. Best, Midnightblueowl (talk) 18:35, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
Well, if time is the criterion, then why not just name the periods? Thus a history article might have Mediaeval, Renaissance, Modern; this article might have the period "1859–65" (perhaps we might call it "Companies"), which might contain 2, 3 or 27 companies and activities within it. (On the general question of whether chronology is better or worse than themes, I venture no opinion: either can be better depending on the situation, and sometimes both are required.)
Your statement that time, not company, is the chosen criterion confirms my suspicion (prior position, if you like) that an "and" in a section heading betrays an underlying cause; or of course, it might betray a simple lack of unity and a ragbag "miscellaneous" section. Since you deny miscellany, I suggest you name the section clearly by the criterion that defines it, viz, the time period involved.
This isn't merely aesthetic: it's a matter of defining sharply what one is talking about. If one is reluctant to define things sharply, leaving conjunctions in a section heading, the reader is entitled to wonder whether anything definite is being talked about at all. Chiswick Chap (talk) 20:41, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
Well, as it is we already do date the periods in these particular sub-section titles, and that (in my opinion) is an advantageous thing that aids the reader. So, given your statements above, I'm under the impression that we both agree on the benefits there. But I also champion the inclusion of a few words that outline the main factors of Morris' life in that particular period. Thus I have put together the sub-section title of "Red House and Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co: 1859–65" because the defining characteristics of Morris' life in this period were his construction and inhabitation of the Red House and the foundation of the Firm. These two events happened simultaneously, and thus in a chronologically structured article it is appropriate that they are included together, rather than being divided into two distinct (thematic) sections. Naturally, following on from this, an "and" is necessary in the title; it would be ridiculous to have "Red House, Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co: 1859–65" ! From my perspective, this makes perfect sense, and it is a system employed in many GA and FA quality biographical articles across Wikipedia.
All in all, I hope that you are pleased with the rather substantial and systematic contributions that I have recently been making to this particular article; of course, I would welcome any feedback that you may have. Anyway, glad that you are staying vigilant – all the best! Midnightblueowl (talk) 21:38, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
The article is very much improved, and your 'and' is indeed in a subsidiary part of the title, so there is unity there, I agree. I suspect, in fact, that my discomfort is aesthetic after all: it's a jolly long title (with punctuation, ahem, as well as conjunctions), and I will allow myself the luxury of observing that such a title does rather fill up everyone's edit comments! In short, titles should be short. All the best, Chiswick Chap (talk) 07:30, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
I am certainly pleased that you are happy with my additions, Chiswick Chap. Specifically regarding the sub-section title, do you have any proposed alternatives ? Perhaps "Red House and the Firm: 1859–65" ? Midnightblueowl (talk) 11:12, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Yes, that might do. Chiswick Chap (talk) 11:22, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
Done! Midnightblueowl (talk) 13:06, 12 June 2014 (UTC)