Irem Yildiz, Turkey: at the William Morris Gallery with the Department of Greece and Rome
Irem Yildiz, Independent Academic, Turkey
A day in Walthamstow and the William Morris Gallery
My name is Irem Yildiz and I am based in the Department of Greece and Rome at the British Museum whilst on the ITP. I am joined by Fellows Lena Lambrinou and Nurcan Yalman.
During departmental time last week we met Dr Ross Thomas in the Greece and Rome Library and were introduced to the British Museum objects database, Merlin.
We began to research objects which we would like to select for our exhibition project proposals. By lunch time we finished our work and walked to Euston station to travel to Walthamstow for our trip to the William Morris Gallery.
Dr. Thomas introduced the neighbourhood and gave a brief information about the social, cultural and historical context of the Walthamstow. After walking through the beautifully decorated façades of houses, we reached the William Morris Gallery. Thanks to the gallery curatorial staff, we were welcomed very warmly and were informed about: how the house was built, when the gallery was established, who William Morris was and why his house played an important role in British history.
In the first gallery, “Meet the Man”, William Morris (1834- 1896) was described as “a designer, craftsmen, poet and social activist.” This introductory room is reserved for Morris’ achievements in politics, literature and textiles, which were displayed using several showcases and digital navigation platforms.
The William Morris Gallery is divided into 9 galleries. Ground floor galleries are reserved for William Morris’ life, including his childhood in Walthamstow, his influences, his business life by founding the Morris & Co. The ground floor is also reserved for the workshop area, where visitors get a hands-on experience. The shop is also located on the ground floor where it was really nice to see the products that were created by Morris’ designs.
The first floor is reserved for information on Morris’ political life and how he became a social activist. I was impressed by Morris’ desire to create a “free and fair” world where art could enrich everyone. On this floor, we also watched a short film about Morris’ personal and political life from the historical and design perspective. After visiting the inside of the gallery, we walked through the garden that is also part of the museum.
It was fantastic to see how the community is building strong relationships with the museum and how museum space continues to be part of people’s daily life.
After our trip we ate delicious pizzas made of Sourdough. It was the first time that I ate burratina, and drank ginger ale, which tastes a little bit sour but at the same time sweet.
It was an amazing day to share great moments, time and delicious pizzas with Lena Lamprinou, Nurcan Yalman and Ross Thomas.