The William Morris Gallery will reopen in August after a £10million revamp. British artist Grayson Perry will be the first artist to exhibit in the new temporary exhibition gallery, with his ‘Walthamstow Tapestry’.
William Morris, born in Walthamstow in 1834, was a founder of the Arts and Crafts movement, supporter of the Pre-Raphaelites, a socialist pioneer, designer, craftsman and visionary, whose work still influences these fields today. The collection housed at the William Morris Gallery is the only one in the world to represent all aspects of Morris’s work and the transformation of the building provides an opportunity for the visitor to learn about one of Britain’s most interesting artists.
The transformation delivers increased and fully-refurbished exhibition space with three new galleries and the chance for previously unseen works to be displayed, a library, research and education centre and a new Georgian orangery-inspired extension housing a new tearoom and balcony overlooking the gardens. Almost 600 objects will now be on display across 12 galleries, and many artefacts are on display for the first time. Entry to the gallery is free.
Grayson Perry’s Walthamstow Tapestry, which will be on display until 23 September, explores the emotional resonance of brand names in our lives and our almost religious relationship to consumerism. Charting man’s passage from birth to death, the tapestry depicts leading brands encountered along the way. Inspired by antique batik fabrics from Malaysia as well as eastern European folk art this vast work provides a colourful, rich and complex visual journey across our contemporary landscape.
The William Morris Gallery is on Forest Road, London, E17 4PP, and can be reached on the London Underground.