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Works In Progress

Design drawings from the William Morris Gallery collection


11 August 2020 to 15 January 2021

Works in Progress is an exhibition of design drawings taken from the Gallery’s collection. Featuring objects that are not usually on display—some of which have never been seen by the public before—the exhibition focusses on the process of design from work on paper to finished object.

Morris created over 600 designs for textiles, ceramics, wallpaper, books, and stained glass. The exhibition features examples of Morris’s pioneering approach to design, centred on layers of flat, abstracted pattern, alongside work by his colleagues including Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Better known as painters, design drawings by Burne-Jones and Rossetti raise questions about the line between so-called ‘fine’ art and the craft skills that Morris championed.

The exhibition shows how design drawings are instrumental in the process of making a wide range of objects. Designs will be shown alongside the products they were used to create, charting the transition from 2D drawing to 3D object.

The title Works in Progress is a reference to the idea that design is a continual process of change and improvement. The exhibition itself will also be a collaborative work in progress, with the objects on display changing to include work chosen by members of our community.