Date of Award

Summer 1957

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




The artistic development of William Morris (1834•1896), dictated by an extreme sensitiveness to color and craftsmanship is almost wholly contained in the first well-defined period of his life. Until 1877 Morris was principally concerned with poetry and the fine arts, and from that time he concentrated on combating the rise of drabness, the result of Victorian capitalism, and worked for the cause of social reform. However,despite the great variety of Morris' achievements a unity was maintained in his love of beauty for its own sake. The scope of this paper, then, is limited to the first period of his life. Its purpose is to discover the relationship between Morris' interests in craftsmanship, particularly dyeing, tapestry work, and stained glass windows, and the color and imagery of poetry.

William Morris wrote poetry as a change from the physical work of handicrafts, and although he deemed it secondary in importance, he employed all his knowledge and skill in design, color, artistry, and above all, architecture. He literally paints his pictures or traces his design in words, using the same colors and intricate structures as he would use in a tapestry, or a stained-glass window.