William Morris (24 March 1834 – 3 October 1896)

“…The wonderfully quirky tomb that Philip Webb designed him would, we can assume, have pleased Morris (rather more). The tomb has a coped roof like a small house or a large dog kennel. The design was inspired by a piece of fourteenth-century stonework found lying around the churchyard. It was typical of Webb, with his love of paradox, to base his monument on an objet trouve. The foundations were dug by Giles, the Kelmscott Manor gardener. The WILLIAM MORRIS inscription has an idiosyncratic looped letter-form. The tomb is carved with trees sprouting along its big flat sides. Morris’s tomb is like an early Frank Lloyd Wright organic building, pushing up out of the soil in its English churchyard setting. It is also peculiarly, startlingly Icelandic, a tomb that would encourage one of those Nordic heroes to rise singing from his grave.”

Fiona MacCarthy: William Morris (1994) Chapter Twenty: Return to Kelmscott, 1896 and after

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