William Morris Liberty, Equality, Fraternity tea towel
Liberty, equality, fraternity – sound familiar? (If not, try it in a French accent…) Well, here’s a visually exciting take on a well-known tripartite! William Morris created this design for the membership card of the Social Democratic Federation (Britain’s first socialist political party), in a perfect marriage of his two passions: art and activism. A British artist, poet, novelist, and ardent socialist, 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. So, go on – add to basket. What better way to become a card-carrying socialist in your own kitchen?