A British artist, poet, novelist, and ardent socialist, William Morris is best known as the 19th century's most celebrated textile designer, responsible for the some of the most recognisable textile patterns from the century. He was a radical in both his art and politics, refusing to follow the consensus. Disillusioned by the Victorian era's focus on dehumanising industrial systems that produced poor-quality, 'unnatural' objects, Morris championed a principle of handmade production, establishing the British Arts and Crafts Movement. Aware of the deep divisions in contemporary society, he declared himself a socialist, and in 1884 he helped set up a new group called the Socialist League, making frequent street-corner speeches and using his fame and artwork to further these objectives.
This tea cosy is inspired by William Morris's iconic 1881 "Bird & Anemone" design, issued as both a wallpaper and printed cotton at approximately the same time. It shows intertwining foliage, anemones and birds in a strong horizontal arrangement.
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