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William Morris

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William Morris (24 March 1834 – 3 October 1896) was an English artist and author, who wrote and published poetry, fiction, and translations of ancient and medieval texts throughout his life. J.R.R. Tolkien was influenced by both the artistic and literary work of Morris.


Literary influence

Literary works by Morris, which Tolkien explicitly stated to have had an impact on his writing, are his novel The House of the Wolfings and his translation of the Völsunga Saga.

Scholars have also deduced influences from several others of Morris's works: The Earthly Paradise (for The Book of Lost Tales), The Roots of the Mountains (for Gollum), The Wood Beyond the World (for Lothlórien and Fangorn), and his translation of The Saga of Gunnlaug the Worm-tongue (for Gríma Wormtongue).[1]

Artistic influence

In several illustrations, Tolkien was clearly inspired by the decorative style found in the Arts and Crafts Movement (of which Morris was the central figure and one of the founders) and the related Art Nouveau. The design philosophy of Morris was to re-introduce traditional craftsmanship using simple forms and often medieval, romantic or folk styles of decoration (in reaction to early to the early modern industrial design), a theme which can be in some of Tolkien's illustrations from the late 1920s and, som of his painting for The Hobbit, and the ornamental patterns drawn in later years.[2][1]

Bibliography, selected

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (2006), The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: Reader's Guide, "Morris, William", pp. 598-604
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist & Illustrator, pp. 9-10