- The Morris chair, an easy chair with a movable back, took its name from William Morris (1834-1896), an Englishman who was thought to be a true Renaissance man. Eric Partridge described him as a "poet, pamphleteer, master craftsman who influenced politicians, printers, architects, and furniture designers." Morris's theory was that objects should be produced as much for their beauty as for their utility. He founded a decorating firm and a factory dedicated to reforming Victorian taste in color and design. His interest in furniture developed after he moved into a London flat and had a hard time finding furnishings to suit his taste. In his spare time, Morris designed a chair for comfort, one with an adjustable back, removable pillows, and straight wooden arms.Morris established a vogue for handmade objects and was an important designer of glass, jewelry, sculpture, wallpaper, and furniture in modified Gothic styles. But the Morris chair overshadowed his other designs. Morris's scholarly background had no direct connection with his invention of the Morris chair. He was was an eminent English poet and artist and one of the originators of Oxford and Cambridge Magazine, which was printed for a year on his expense. He acquired interests in and studied the practical art of dyeing and carpet weaving. His interests took him into typography, and he organized the Kelmscot Press in 1890 in Hammersmith, for which he designed special type and ornamental letters and borders for use in publishing medieval French romances. In addition, he published volumes of his own verse and produced illuminated manuscripts, his work featuring two editions of Edward FitzGerald's Omar Khayyam.
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.
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