Walthamstow’s William Morris Gallery has been transformed to create a new world-class destination. New galleries, learning resources and a Georgian orangery-inspired extension have been designed to explore the life and works of William Morris. The new gallery space opened on 2nd August 2012.
The stunning new space was unveiled by Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry and designer and Gallery patron Laurence Llewelyn Bowen, along with Leader of Waltham Forest Council Chris Robbins and Heritage Lottery Fund Committee Chairman Wesley Kerr.
The Gallery promises to provide visitors with a personal insight into one of the foremost creative artists and original thinkers of the nineteenth century.
Arguably Walthamstow’s most famous cultural export, Morris was a designer, craftsman, writer and political thinker. He was born in Walthamstow and lived in Water House (now the William Morris Gallery) from 1848 to 1856 and his work has since inspired generations of artists, designers, writers and political thinkers.
Waltham Forest Council has driven the Gallery’s £5m redevelopment, and its transformation represents the Council’s commitment to arts and culture. The refurbishment also forms a key part of the Council’s wider plans to regenerate the borough and improve the area’s leisure offer for local people and visitors from further afield alike.
The 18th Century, Grade II* listed building has been completely refurbished, revealing many of the original Georgian features for the first time. The transformation delivers increased and fully refurbished exhibition space with three new galleries and the chance for previously unseen works to be displayed, a library, research and education centre and a new Georgian orangery-inspired extension housing a new tearoom and balcony overlooking the gardens.
Grayson Perry is the first artist to exhibit in the new temporary exhibition gallery displaying his Walthamstow Tapestry; Running until 23 Sept 2012.
The redevelopment works in the Gallery have been carried out by Pringle Richards Sharratt Architects and made possible by funding from Waltham Forest Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) as well as many notable trusts, foundations, sponsors and The Friends of The William Morris Gallery. The restoration of Lloyd Park has been made possible through funding from Waltham Forest Council, HLF and the Big Lottery Fund.
Image of Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry and designer and Gallery patron Laurence Llewelyn Bowen, along with Leader of Waltham Forest Council Chris Robbins and Heritage Lottery Fund Committee Chairman Wesley Kerr: © Mike Massaro / Double Negative.
Panoramic gallery shot and gallery section image: © Oliver Dixon / Imagewise.