Kelmscott Manor

William Morris leased this house jointly with D. G. Rossetti in 1871. Then he left his wife, Janey, at Kelmscott with Rossetti while he visited Iceland. Rossetti's painting of her in a blue dress is still in the house and his portraits of her two daughters. Morris describes Kelmscott Manor in his utopian novel News from Nowhere. He chose a wood engraving of the house as the frontispiece when he printed the book at his Kelmscott Press.

The house is 16th century with a 17th century wing. The walls and roof are made of Cotswolds stone. The Tapestry Room upstairs still has its original 17th century tapestries. Rossetti used it as his studio.

Downstairs there are unique Morris wall hangings. The earliest is his first embroidery with his motto ‘If I can’. The Daisy embroidery hung on the walls of his bedroom at Red House. Look also for his first tapestry, Cabbage and Vine and Philip Webb’s black settle from Red House.

Morris also designed a frieze of famous women for Red House. It was never finished, but three of the figures are at Kelmscott Manor. Round the figure of Isoude are Morris’s notes on the colours to be used.

Two of Morris’s cotton chintzes still hang on the walls, They are Strawberry Thief and Kennet. In both he uses indigo, his favourite vegetable dye.

A fireplace is lined with Acanthus and Swan tiles and there are loose tiles with female figures by Burne-Jones. Most show Chaucer’s Good Women. Another, with a French motto, has Burne-Jones's initials.

More details of Kelmscott Manor can be found in Ann S. Dean's book Burne-Jones and William Morris in Oxford and the Surrounding Area.    The book also describes Burne-Jones's Briar Rose Paintings which can be seen near Kelmscott Manor. It gives the details and the phone numbers for many churches nearby in Oxford and the Cotswolds with windows by Morris and Burne-Jones. 
    This is a picture from Ann Dean's  book of Morris's 17th century bed at Kelmscott. His wife embroidered and signed the coverlet. Morris wrote the poem For the Bed at Kelmscott which is embroidered round the valance and his daughter May designed the curtains. May was in charge of the embroidery section of Morris & Co.