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William Morris – how a great thinker and poet was overlooked for his wallpaper

By Serena Trowbridge, Reader in Victorian Literature, Birmingham City University
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The obituaries and reminiscences that followed the death of William Morris on October 3 1896 refer to him as a great poet, thinker and tireless worker in the service of humanity, securing his reputation as “the most all-round gifted man of the 19th century”. It is perhaps ironic, then, that he is largely only remembered for designs popular on wallpaper, tea-towels and high-street clothing.

Morris’s doctor stated that the cause of death was “simply being William Morris and having…

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