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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury Institutions


The Firm

Also known as Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co/Morris & Co/ Morris & Co Decorators Ltd/Morris & Company Artworkers Ltd


It was founded in 1861 as a decorating company by William Morris

Its official title was Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co (later becoming Morris & Co, but it was usually known simply as The Firm)

It aimed to produce beautiful hand-crafted textiles, furnishings, and stained glass

Becoming a pioneer of the aesthetic movement and subsequently the arts and crafts movement over the next few decades, the Firm was also a commercial success, despite its somewhat chaotic management (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, entry for William Morris)

Renamed Morris & Co Decorators Ltd in 1905 and Morris & Company Artworkers Ltd in 1925, it began to struggle in the interwar period, and went into liguidation in 1940

Its stock and rights were bought by home furnishings firm Arthur Sanderson & Sons (founded 1860), now Sanderson, who relaunched William Morris brand wallpapers in 1965, and who continue to market Morris as one of their brands

What was reforming about it?

It revolutionised interior design and furnishings in England and helped to revive medieval craftsmanship

Where in Bloomsbury

The Firm had premises at Red Lion Square and subsequently 26 Queen Square (1865–1881)

Website of current institution

The successor institution is Sanderson, whose Morris brand has its own website at www.william-morris.co.uk (opens in new window)

Books about it

Michael Parry, Morris & Co: A Revolution in Decoration (2011)

There is a short history online on the website run by the successor institution, www.william-morris.co.uk (opens in new window)


The main archival deposit of the Firm was the Sanford and Helen Berger Collection, acquired by the Huntington Library in California in 1999; details are apparently not available online, but see William Morris Society Newsletter (January 2004)

Some designs and correspondence are held in the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow; details of the gallery are available online via Waltham Forest Council website (opens in new window)

Copies of the Firm’s minute book and correspondence from 1862–1898 (originals at Huntington Library) are held by Hammersmith and Fulham Archives and Local History Centre, refs DD230/1 and DD235/1–29; details are available online via the Hammersmith & Fulham Council website (opens in new window)

Some correspondence, memos, and a day book from the period 1865–1896 are held in the National Art Library of the Victoria & Albert Museum; details are available online via the V&A website (opens in new window)

There is an excellent online listing of publicly-accessible archival resources relating to Morris at the Artists’ Papers Register (opens in new window)

This page last modified 13 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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