Journey to the Past - William Morris and his travels to Iceland in 1871 and 1873
In her lecture, Sigríður Björk will discuss William Morris´s travels to Iceland in 1871 and 1873 and how they may have influenced Morris´s work and theories on the importance of art and beauty in society.
Morris's ideas about the ideal community were initially based on somewhat glorified ideas about the medieval society, which was the foundation of the historical legends of the Icelandic sagas. At the same time it was the source for Morris's fiction and the basis of his collaboration with Eiríkur Magnússon, the scholar and librarian in Cambridge. Even though Morris and his fellow travelers focused on travelling through the historic grounds of the sagas these two summers of 1871 and 1873, it can be argued that it was in fact a 19th-century Icelandic peasant society that really shaped Morris´s notions of the righteous and a exemplary community, where culture, arts, and fine craftsmanship were not part of the privilege of the few, but part of the daily lives of everyone, whatever their status may have been in society.
In addition, Morris's ideas on craftsmanship and high-quality design will be put in context with his criticism on the impact of the industrialization in the latter part of the 19th century and the contemporary emphasis on permanence and quality products, which is a reaction to mass production with its appurtenant environmental impact.
Sigríður Björk Jónsdóttir completed a BA degree in History and Anthropology at the University of Iceland, MA degree in Architectural History and Design at the University of Essex in England and an MBA degree from the University of Reykjavik. Along with her work as a specialist at the National Planning Agency, she is registered in planning studies at the Agricultural University of Iceland.
In Icelandic. Free with admission.