Morris and the Muslims
Navid Akhtar examines the influence of Islamic design and values on the life of the Victorian designer, poet, craftsman and socialist radical William Morris.
Morris was inspired by Turkish ceramics and Persian carpets to create a new movement in British design. For him, the Muslim world had managed to preserve the art of the craftsman and avoid the ills of industrial production. He espoused the philosophy that art should be affordable and hand made; this was already a reality in the Islamic world.
Not stopping at arts and crafts, he was a passionate advocate of social utopianism and believed in the rights of the worker. Today, these ideals have profoundly influenced a new generation of British-born Muslim artists, as they rediscover Morris and look to his artistic work and socialist ideas for inspiration.