Press releases


William Morris - more than floral wallpaper is the first exhibition in Sweden of the versatile English designer William Morris, whose ideas on craft and quality spread throughout Europe at the turn of the 20th century. Through
artworks, wallpaper, fabrics and furniture the exhibition presents his life and work. It is the story of a successful businessman and manufacturer who was also a fervent socialist.

Ask anyone who William Morris is and you will probably receive a hesitant smile in reply. Then ask if they are familiar with Morris wallpaper and they will probably light up and answer: “Oh, I love floral Morris wallpaper!”
William Morris’ designs for textiles and wallpapers are much appreciated in Sweden but few know much about the man behind the patterns. In his native Britain, William Morris is a national treasure. As the leading figure in the British Arts and Crafts Movement, Morris has left a rich legacy and there are several museum-based homes where William Morris’ furnishings are preserved.

William Morris (1834-1896) was a true multidisciplinarian who, during his 62-year-long life, devoted himself to such diverse activities as art, architecture, the preservation of old buildings, as well as design and crafts. He was the author of novels and poetry; he founded publishing companies and designed fonts. He was interested in Icelandic sagas which he translated into
English. He was a socialist and also a successful entrepreneur and businessman.

William Morris’ divergent commitments were the result of a desire to create a better and more beautiful world for people. In protest against the conservative Victorian society, which was being transformed due to industrialisation, Morris wanted to revive traditional craftsmanship and
small-scale manufacturing and provide dignified living conditions for all. As a socialist he fought for justice and equality.
Produced by Millesgården, the exhibition is a collaboration with the William Morris Gallery,
the William Morris Society and Style Library in London.


Millesgården have, through Sotheby's acquired two Roman marble figures of dogs, from the 2nd century AD. They were at the end of 1930s offered for sale along with the Actaeonsculpture Carl Milles bought. The sculpture Milles bought depicts a recoiling man with traces of canine jaws and paws on the thighs. Milles acquired only the male figure, without dogs.

Actaeon was, according to Greek mythology, the grandson of the King of Thebes, and a skilled hunter. During a hunt with his two dogs, he wanders into a forbidden forest and sees the hunting goddess Artemis bathing naked. Artemis discovers him and in anger she transforms him into a deer, then the hunter's own dogs attack and tear him to pieces. At the British Museum in London there is a sculpture group of the same theme, including dogs, but on a smaller scale. In this sculpture the antlers are starting to grow out of Actaeons head.

The acquisition complements Millesgården´s collection of antiques and also enables research on Carl Milles and his collection of antique collecting, why he made the choices he made  when purchasing antique sculpture, and also research on this specific theme in antique sculpture.


The aquisition is made possible thanks to a generous contribution by Millesgården´s friends association. 


Actaeon in the antiques collection at Millesgården. Photo: Yanan Li. 
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