William Morris Society Launches New Art Installation

Sudden Summer explores the designer's legacy as an environmentalist

'And here comes the chopper to chop of your head' by Freddie Yauner
'And here comes the chopper to chop of your head' by Freddie Yauner

A new art installation on Upper Mall in Hammersmith by contemporary artist Freddie Yauner explores the eco-socialist legacy of C19th designer, writer, and poet William Morris.

Hosted by The William Morris Society, Sudden Summer features images painted using handmade pollen pigment. Running until 8 May the images are displayed for the public to view in the external windows of the Coach House at Kelmscott House, Morris’s former Thames side home in Hammersmith. The building remains closed due to flood damage but a QR code can be scanned to obtain a commentary.

The property features at the start of Morris’s 1890 eco-socialist utopia novel News From Nowhere and sections of the book were written at Kelmscott House. Morris also used the Coach House to host meetings of the Socialist League.

Most well-known for his floral designs, William Morris was a passionate social reformer and an early environmentalist. Freddie Yauner’s Sudden Summer takes its name and inspiration from the moment in News From Nowhere when the novels narrator wakes up in a utopian world where Morris anticipated many features of the modern Green Movement: renewable energy, reforestation, the reduction of waste, the joy of a simple lifestyle, the redefinition of work and taking pleasure in nature. The artist believes that in a time of climate crisis, Morris’s ideas have particular resonance and offer an alternative to how we might live if we wish to avoid climate catastrophe.

Sudden Summer marks the end of Freddie Yauner’s third “Morris-anuary” where each spring he grows his hair and beard for three months and totally immerses himself in the life and work of Morris, this year making works that explore and amplify Morris's environmentalism.

The William Morris Society exists to make better known the life, work and ideas of William Morris, designer, craftsman, poet and socialist. The Society’s premises are in the Coach House and basement of Kelmscott House, Morris’s Hammersmith home for the last 18 years of his life.

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March 30, 2022