Friday, March 14, 2008


Excuse me while I go slightly dotty over Morris & Co - one of the most important design exhibitions to come to New Zealand and showing exclusively at Christchurch Art Gallery. I’m just back from the media preview where I found myself mesmerised by William Morris’s leafy swirls, his exquisite layering of pattern on pattern and his obvious passion for nature. Drawn from the extensive William Morris collections of the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (one of the leading William Morris collections in the world and the biggest outside the United Kingdom), it presents everything from curtain fabrics, carpets, upholstery fabrics, wallpapers, tapestries, furniture, books and embroideries all designed between 1860- early 1900s; and all as fresh as they were 100years ago. It’s a stunning interplay of colour, pattern and texture and given that New Zealand is reputedly the biggest market for William Morris fabrics outside of the United Kingdom (and Timaru the biggest market within New Zealand), it ought to go down a real treat here. I especially like the ‘reproduced living room’ with reading materials and a swirl of reproduced WM on the foyer floor; the colourful billboards around town; the council car done out in William Morris pattern; and the fact that gallery seats have been re-upholstered in William Morris fabrics. The exhibition runs at Christchurch Art Gallery from March 14 – June 29.

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