Page:The Life of William Morris.djvu/188

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

ÆT. 29]



Red House. "I always did hate fireworks," he wrote afterwards while mentioning a fire at the works in Islington where his wall-papers were printed, "especially since I saw Cotton's wharf ablaze some eighteen years ago." The memory of that terrible sight of the blazing river seems to have been lifelong with all who witnessed it.

With a growing family and a constant hospitality, the expense of living at Red House and continuing its decoration on the same lavish scale became greater year by year. At the same time the copper mine, from which the greater part of his permanent income was still derived, began to yield rapidly diminishing returns. The business in Red Lion Square had not ceased to be a drain on these diminishing revenues, and was not till some years later a trustworthy source of income. Its prospects were indeed improving. The movement towards restoring to Anglican churches and church services some part of their ancient beauty and symbolism was taking definite shape all over the country, and was beginning to be known by the name of Ritualism. Commissions for church decoration in the form of wall-painting, embroideries, or hangings, altar-cloths, stained-glass windows, and floor-tiles, came in more and more steadily. And the movement was just beginning to spread from ecclesiastical into secular life, and become what was afterwards called Æstheticism.

But this very increase in the firm's work had already made the premises in Red Lion Square insufficient for their purpose, while, as Morris had to give more of his time to its management, the expense and fatigue of managing it from Upton both increased likewise. Early in 1864 the question of removing the works to Upton and setting up a manufactory there began to