2019 Lecture Series
This year we have a number of interesting lectures throughout the season.
These will be held at the Morris Memorial Hall in Kelmscott. Doors open at 6.30pm with the lecture starting at 7pm.
Booking is essential, Tickets are £10 per person (Friends of Kelmscott Manor FREE). Parking is available adjacent to the Hall.
To reserve a seat at any of these lectures,
call: 01367 253754
Friday 26th April
'Victorian Secrets' - My Lady's Soul - The Poems of Elizabeth Siddall
by Dr Serena Trowbridge, Senior Lecturer in English, Birmingham City School of English
Elizabeth Siddall (1829 - 1862) was an artist, poet and artist model, married to Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Dr Trowbridge has undertaken extensive archival research to restore Siddall’s better-known poems – often heavily edited in previous publications – to their original form, and to identify and reproduce poems and fragments not previously included in anthologies in her new book published last year.
Friday 31st May
Reappraisal of John Ruskin's influence on William Morris
by Dr John Blewitt, Distinguished Fellow of the Schumacher Institute.
In the Centenary year of John Ruskin's Birth, this lecture will look at the influence John Ruskin had on William Morris.
For William Morris, John Ruskin’s writings on architecture and painting were ‘a revelation’. Late in life he wrote that Ruskin’s chapter ‘Nature of the Gothic’ from The Stones of Venice was one of the few ‘necessary' pieces of literature of the whole of the nineteenth century. In homage he reprinted it in a beautiful special Kelmscott Press edition in 1892 because it had helped shape his own understanding of need for creative labour, architectural and environmental conservation and for a new society devoid factory production and ‘profit-grinding’.
Ruskin’s political and social criticism, he said, gave form to his own discontent and throughout his life he recommended others, including readers of the Pall Mall Gazette, to read the great man. However, Ruskin’s ideas were set within a profoundly conservative and paternalist philosophical framework. He valued obedience, reverence and wise mastership arguing that only the foolish, or the wicked, delight in a world with no masters. Morris, however, came to believe that Art and Humanity could only be saved if there were ‘neither rich nor poor, neither master nor master's man’.
Friday 12th July
'The dear warp and weft at Hammersmith' - A history of Kelmscott House
by Helen Elletson - Curator at the William Morris Society
William Morris reported to his wife Janey that he had found one of the most beautiful houses in London when he bought Kelmscott House in Hammersmith, where he spent the last eighteen years of his life.
While living here he set up the Kelmscott Press, his textile production works at Merton Abbey, established the Hammersmith branch of the Socialist League in the Coach House, where speakers included George Bernard Shaw and W B Yeats, began carpet weaving and continued his innovating approach to design, printing and dyeing techniques.
This talk, on what GB Shaw called that ‘most magical’ house will feature images of original designs, textiles and wallpapers, complemented by Emery Walker’s beautiful photographic prints, faithfully conveying the atmosphere of Kelmscott House, bursting with creative activity and providing a welcome for some of the most influential minds of the period. It will also include the history and the people who inhabited the house before and after Morris as well as incorporating interesting quotes and anecdotes from Morris’s contemporaries.
Friday 23rd August
At Home with the Spartali Family
by Susan Weeks
Research into the history of her private Island residence opened a door for Susan Weeks into a forgotten past that had been locked away for over a century.
Susan reveals the untold story of her Victorian home at Sandford House which was formerly the country seat of its original owners the Spartali family. Her presentation describes their lives and widespread Island connections, focusing most especially on that of Marie Spartali, daughter of the house, whose own pioneering career made her arguably the greatest of all the female artists painting in the Pre Raphaelite style. Being labelled "a stunner" Marie became the popular choice as both model and muse for many famous names including Julia Margaret Cameron.
Marie Spartali Stillman became close to Jane Morris and she visited Kelmscott Manor often, painting a number of images of the house. Her paining 'Feeding the Doves' is on display in Jane's Room.