Northeast London's William Morris Gallery has reopened after an $8-million overhaul that has reinvigorated the childhood home of Britain's Arts and Crafts pioneer.
This elegant parkland villa in Walthamstow -- a free-entry attraction -- showcases Morris' oeuvre, from curlicue tapestries to heroic-themed stained glass, using touchscreens, interactive activities and period artifacts to illuminate a Victorian who believed beauty was essential to human existence.
The first of nine rooms introduces Morris, stoking your interest for the next room’s early experiments in painting, embroidery and furniture-making. These triggered the creation of the interior design firm Morris & Co., which aimed to combine art and functionality in everyday homes. Look out for its first wallpaper, a richly flowered 1862 creation.
But changing the look of the world wasn’t enough for Morris. Upstairs, the gallery explores his anti-capitalist writings -- he thought industrialization was deeply dehumanizing -- including "News from Nowhere," a bestselling utopian novel satirizing society.