William Morris's Bed Installed at Tate Britain for Pre-Raphaelite: Victorian Avant Garde Exhibition

One of Kelmscott Manor's prized items, William Morris's bed, has this week been installed into Tate Britain to star in their forthcoming exhibition Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant Garde. Kathy Haslam, Visitor Experience Manager at Kelmscott Manor, explains the significance of the loan, and the monumental effort to move Morris's prized possession.

From Kelmscott to Tate
Tate Britain’s exhibition explores a number of key themes including revivalism, the unconscious and social awareness, as well as looking beyond Pre-Raphaelite painting to the decorative arts and women practitioners. All of these are brought together in one superb object: William Morris’s bed. Poetry and the decorative arts were fused in its textiles through collaborative endeavour embodying the skills of several women; Morris’s designs for wallpapers, textiles and other media married tradition with innovation. And how better to illustrate the importance in Morris’s writings of the unconscious state of sleep? It  unfettered imagination, conjuring vivid dream-pictures and other-worldly narratives as well as repose and regeneration. Morris’s utopian novel News From Nowhere (1890), which features Kelmscott Manor, lies somewhere between a dream and vision of a post-revolutionary England of harmony and social equality.