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Morris Fortuny


Peacock and Vine: Fortuny & Morris

TAC Virtual Travels- The Arts & Crafts Heritage of William and May Morris, Part Three

Presented by TAC Board member Shelley Wells

Sunday, August 23, 1:30 pm, online via Zoom

Admission: Free. Registration required


Morris & Fortuny? What affinity is there, beyond their undeniable genius, between these two, one steeped in the English countryside, and the other in the elegance of Venice? TAC Executive Board member Shelley Wells explores this paradox with the help of novelist A.S. Byatt’s book, Peacock and Vine: On William Morris and Mariano Fortuny.


View the film shown with this event: “Fortuny” by Matthew Bird.


From the New York Times review of Peacock and Vine: On William Morris and Mariano Fortuny:

… a good thinker could trace the social history of a century or three by following the evolution of something as seemingly mundane as textiles. The walls do, indeed, speak volumes.1

And that, partly, is what the novelist A.S. Byatt teases out in this charming, generously illustrated volume about two geniuses, the likes of whom, sadly, we have not seen for a while.

Very little connects Morris and Fortuny, really, except that each left a strong imprint on our decorative vocabularies. Each lived and worked with a belief that artisans should have the status of artists, a surprisingly contemporary view.1


Shelley Wells is an avid reader and a life long textile enthusiast. With a professional background in both higher education and life long learning, her work with the Council focuses primarily on the use of social media as a platform for learning. She also enjoys learning based travel and leads TAC’s annual national tour.

1 New York Times Book Review, Designing Men: The Art of William Morris and Mariano Fortuny, review by Dominique Browning, Sept. 9, 2016.

Image Credits: 1. Evening wrap; Mariano Fortuny; ca. 1925; Silk Velvet; 129 x 100 cm (50 13/16 x 39 3/8 in.); 1986.96.2b; Gift of Mrs. Alan Fleishhacker. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. 2. courtesy of Shelley Wells


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