The utopian dimensions of Morris’s romance News from Nowhere are evident to every reader. But what does it mean to call Morris’s designs utopian? In this informal illustrated talk, Michael Robertson will look closely at some of Morris’s designs for wallpaper, textiles, furniture, murals, and stained glass. He will place the designs in the context of utopian studies, explore the key elements underlying their utopianism, and consider their cultural work in the 19th century and today.
Michael Robertson, Honorary Research Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London, is former president of the William Morris Society in the United States. He is the author of three award-winning books on 19th-century literature and culture, including The Last Utopians (Princeton UP, 2018). He is currently writing a biography of William Morris.