William Morris (1834-1896) was a talented poet, artist, textile and furniture designer, and one of the founders of the Arts and Crafts movement during the rise of the steam industry in Britain.
Born in Walthamstow England, March 24th 1834, Morris was encouraged to explore his creative interests by tutors in his youth. In 1857, Morris was studying architecture at Oxford. There, he met famous architects and painters such as Edward Burne-Jones, Phillip Webb and Rossetti, a founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (respectful emulators of the medieval and renaissance styles before Raphael's time) , which Morris himself participated in. Morris also met Jane Burden, a model for many painters, and they became married in 1859.
After graduation and marriage, William Morris, in Pre-Raphaelite fashion, commissioned Phillip Webb to design him a house in a medieval style. Jane and William Morris were moved into the now called Red House by 1860, and Morris lead the effort on furnishing and decorating the house, recruiting help from friends and fellow artists. By April 1861 the firm of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. was established after they found pride and inspiration in their decorating work.
The goals of the firm were to promote hand-craft to counter the increasingly industrial era while also upholding the emulation of medieval and early renaissance styles (before Raphael's time) brought forth by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The firm became incredibly successful, known for their wallpapers, furniture, and other decorative products, and it became a driving force for the popularity of the British Arts and Crafts movement.
Ironically, later in the firm's life, it became so popular that industrial means were turned to in order to keep up with the demand. However, new means of manufacturing were innovated to keep the hand-crafted style in tact. The tile puzzle on level 3 of The Tessera is actually inspired by Morris' painted tile product designs. By 1975, the firm was reinstituted as Morris & Co. with William Morris as the sole proprietor, and some of the firm's products and designs are still seen today.