William Morris' contributions to British design, arts and aesthetics are as Google says, 'nearly impossible to sum up". Describing him as a true prodigy, Google says that Morris "dove deeply into each of his many interests, leaving us a rich legacy in multiple fields."
Google marks Morris' 182nd birthday on 24 March with five different Morris designs to highlight his iconic style. Its doodler Lydia Nichols recreates five of his designs and they each appear randomly as the google search engine page is refreshed.
Described as an English textile designer, poet, novelist, translator and socialist activist, he was associated with the British Arts and Crafts Movement and was a major contributor to the revival of the traditional British textile arts and methods of production.
His literary contributions also helped to pave the way for modern fantasy genre, and he played a significant role in propagating the early socialist movement in the UK. Born in Walthamstow in Essex on 24 March 1824 to a wealthy middle class family, he studied the Classics at Oxford University.
In 1861, he founded a decorative arts firm with pre-Raphaelite artists Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Neo-Gothic architect Philip Webb. The Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co became highly fashionable and much in demand.
The company "profoundly influenced interior decoration throughout the Victorian period", with Morris designing tapestries, wallpaper, fabrics furniture and stained glass windows. His ethos was that one should "have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
He also produced a serious of English-language translations of Icelandic Sagas and published poems and novels - The Earthly Paradise, A Dream of John Ball, the utopian News from Nowhere and the fantasy romance The Well at the World's End. His influence and interest did not stop there.
In 1877 he founded the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings to campaign against the damage caused by architectural restoration. Influenced by Marxism and anarchism, he became involved in the Social Democratic Federation and moved on to found the Socialist League in 1994. He however broke away from the organisation in 1890.
Morris founded the Kelmscott Press to publish limited education, illuminated style print books. The William Morris Society which was founded in 1955, is devoted to his varied contributions. He died of tuberculosis on 4 October 1896.