100 books like William Morris

By Anna Mason,

Here are 100 books that William Morris fans have personally recommended if you like William Morris. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of News from Nowhere

Jan Marsh Author Of The Collected Letters of Jane Morris

From my list on William Morris and his family.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve had a lifelong admiration for William Morris’s eloquent writings on political optimism. And how these fit with the personal life of his wife Janey and daughter May. This began with my biography of the two women, published by the feminist Pandora Press and continuing through to editing Jane Morris’s Collected Letters. Admiration is also critical engagement rather than simple fandom. We need to think, act, and endeavor to promote how we might live better lives in the world. I love the task of relating individual lives in the context of their time. Biography involves historical imagination to fill the gaps in recorded information and conceive how those in the past thought, felt and behaved.   

Jan's book list on William Morris and his family

Jan Marsh Why did Jan love this book?

This is William Morris’s utopian fantasy imaging an egalitarian, ecological, and pacific future for Britain is a perennial political favourite. It challenges each generation to think ‘how we might live’ without capitalist conflict. This book tackles revolutionary change, human nature, work, gender, manufacturing, architecture, economics, ecology, and the uses of imagination in critical analysis. All topics demonstrate the ongoing importance of William Morris’s vision and provoke responses.

By William Morris,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked News from Nowhere as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

News from Nowhere(1890) is the best-known prose work of William Morris and the only significant English utopia to be written since Thomas More's. The novel describes the encounter between a visitor from the nineteenth century, William Guest, and a decentralized and humane socialist future. Set over a century after a revolutionary upheaval in 1952, these "Chapters from a Utopian Romance" recount his journey across London and up the Thames to Kelmscott Manor, Morris's own country house in Oxfordshire. Drawing on the work of John Ruskin and Karl Marx, Morris's book is not only an evocative statement of his egalitarian convictions…


Book cover of William Morris: A Life for Our Time

Jan Marsh Author Of The Collected Letters of Jane Morris

From my list on William Morris and his family.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve had a lifelong admiration for William Morris’s eloquent writings on political optimism. And how these fit with the personal life of his wife Janey and daughter May. This began with my biography of the two women, published by the feminist Pandora Press and continuing through to editing Jane Morris’s Collected Letters. Admiration is also critical engagement rather than simple fandom. We need to think, act, and endeavor to promote how we might live better lives in the world. I love the task of relating individual lives in the context of their time. Biography involves historical imagination to fill the gaps in recorded information and conceive how those in the past thought, felt and behaved.   

Jan's book list on William Morris and his family

Jan Marsh Why did Jan love this book?

This is a brilliantly written biography by the late lamented MacCarthy, for whom William Morris was the hero of heroes in regard to both design and political ideals. It’s a book that should never go out of print, indispensable to understanding the people, places, and events that determined Morris’s life, work, and historical influence.

By Fiona MacCarthy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked William Morris as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Wolfson History Prize, and described by A.S.Byatt as 'one of the finest biographies ever published', this is Fiona MacCarthy's magisterial biography of William Morris, legendary designer and father of the Victorian Arts and Crafts movement.

'Thrilling, absorbing and majestic.' Independent
'Wonderfully ambitious ... The definitive Morris biography.' Sunday Times
'Delicious and intelligent, full of shining detail and mysteries respected.' Daily Telegraph
'Oh, the careful detail of this marvellous book! . . . A model of scholarly biography'. New Statesman

Since his death in 1896, William Morris has been celebrated as a giant of the Victorian era. But…


Book cover of May Morris: Art & Life New Perspectives

Jan Marsh Author Of The Collected Letters of Jane Morris

From my list on William Morris and his family.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve had a lifelong admiration for William Morris’s eloquent writings on political optimism. And how these fit with the personal life of his wife Janey and daughter May. This began with my biography of the two women, published by the feminist Pandora Press and continuing through to editing Jane Morris’s Collected Letters. Admiration is also critical engagement rather than simple fandom. We need to think, act, and endeavor to promote how we might live better lives in the world. I love the task of relating individual lives in the context of their time. Biography involves historical imagination to fill the gaps in recorded information and conceive how those in the past thought, felt and behaved.   

Jan's book list on William Morris and his family

Jan Marsh Why did Jan love this book?

May Morris, daughter of the more famous William, was a renowned designer and craftswoman. She shared her father’s political ideals and took them forward through the textile arts of the Arts & Crafts Movement. 

Edited by embroidery artist and historian Lynne Hulse, this book brings together a wide range of new essays on facets of May Morris’s life and career. It complements the lavishly illustrated exhibition catalogue May Morris: Arts & Crafts Designer. Together these two titles provide all currently available details of May’s work, all too often overshadowed by that of her father.

By Lynn Hulse,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked May Morris as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Words & Wisdom

Jan Marsh Author Of The Collected Letters of Jane Morris

From my list on William Morris and his family.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve had a lifelong admiration for William Morris’s eloquent writings on political optimism. And how these fit with the personal life of his wife Janey and daughter May. This began with my biography of the two women, published by the feminist Pandora Press and continuing through to editing Jane Morris’s Collected Letters. Admiration is also critical engagement rather than simple fandom. We need to think, act, and endeavor to promote how we might live better lives in the world. I love the task of relating individual lives in the context of their time. Biography involves historical imagination to fill the gaps in recorded information and conceive how those in the past thought, felt and behaved.   

Jan's book list on William Morris and his family

Jan Marsh Why did Jan love this book?

It’s a compact 100+ pages with 80 images, showcasing Morris’s passionately held view that beautiful, functional design should be accessible to all. All expressed through quotations from his own words and those of his friends, colleagues, and biographers.  

Fits in a pocket and is a perfect introduction for those who do not yet know of Morris’s ideas and influence. Also a handy source of quotations on the aesthetics of design.

By William Morris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Words & Wisdom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Born in London in 1834, William Morris was a radical thinker whose democratic vision for society and art has continued to influence designers, artists and writersto this day, long after his death in 1896. He was a gifted poet, architect, painter, writer and textile designer, who also founded the Kelmscott Press, the most famous of the Arts and Crafts private presses. Morris's ideas later came to influence the Garden City movement, as well as numerous artists and craftspeople, who sought to negotiate a viable place within the modern world in the troubled years that followed the First World War. His…


Book cover of Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement

Kirsty Stonell Walker Author Of Pre-Raphaelite Girl Gang: Fifty Makers, Shakers and Heartbreakers from the Victorian Era

From my list on aspiring Pre-Raphaelite women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I absolutely love the Pre-Raphaelites, they are my utter passion and these books are the fuel for that fire. Who wouldn't want to be a Pre-Raphaelite woman? Smart, talented, resourceful, these women define what it is to make a mark and great some of the most ground-breaking art in history. I'm particularly obsessed with Pre-Raphaelite women, the artists and muses who created the art we love so much today. After spending almost 30 years researching their lives and loves, it's now my absolute pleasure in telling everyone about these astonishing women, and why we should love them and learn from them.

Kirsty's book list on aspiring Pre-Raphaelite women

Kirsty Stonell Walker Why did Kirsty love this book?

Of course, women of the Pre-Raphaelite movement were not only on the canvas, they also were the artists responsible for a vast array of art in different mediums, from painting and sculpture to enameling and embroidery. The later years of the Victorian period saw women flocking to art schools and claiming the profession from their male counterparts and freeing them to create art that equally defines the Pre-Raphaelite and subsequent movements.

By Martin Ellis, Timothy Barringer, Victoria Osborne

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Victorian Radicals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Although the word "Victorian" connotes a kind of dry propriety, the artists working in the Victorian era were anything but. Starting with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and lasting through the dawn of the 20th century, the era's painters, writers, and designers challenged every prevailing belief about art and its purpose. The full spectrum of the Victorian avant- garde is in magnificent display in this book that features nearly 150 works drawn from the Birmingham Museum's unparalleled collection. Characterized by attention to detail, vibrant colors, and engagement with literary themes and daily life, the paintings, works on paper, and decorative objects featured…


Book cover of The Nature Of Gothic

Richard Weston Author Of 100 Ideas that Changed Architecture

From my list on that formed my understanding of architecture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by architecture and landscape architecture since discovering the work of Le Corbusier at the age of sixteen. Most of my life has been spent teaching and writing about it - fifteen books and numerous articles - with occasional forays into designing and building. I took early retirement as a Professor of  Architecture in 2013, the year after enjoying ‘Fifteen Minutes of Fame’ on a BBC TV series featuring the development of my ‘mineral scarves’ for Liberty of London. This led to a creative app and website for children called Molly’s World (to be launched in 2024) and on my seventieth birthday in 2023 I launched an architectural and garden design studio.

Richard's book list on that formed my understanding of architecture

Richard Weston Why did Richard love this book?

Extracted from Ruskin’s three-volume account of ‘The Stones of Venice’, this was published with an introduction by William Morris, Ruskin’s greatest disciple and founder of the Arts and Crafts movement.

Ruskin’s High Victorian writing style is a barrier to some, but he is the greatest English writer on architecture whose ideas about the importance of craftsmanship and moral value of authentic architecture are an antidote to our present condition.

Extolling the virtues of ‘Savageness’, ‘Changefulness’ and ‘Love of Nature’ his ideas are newly relevant as we address the environmental and social consequences of the Industrial Revolution he detested for its impact on our humanity.

By John Ruskin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Nature Of Gothic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world's literature in affordable, high quality, modern editions that are true to the original work.


Book cover of Medieval Wall Paintings in English & Welsh Churches

Matthew Champion Author Of Medieval Graffiti: The Lost Voices of England's Churches

From my list on medieval churches.

Why am I passionate about this?

If you spend as long looking at medieval churches as I do, you also end up collecting a lot of books on the subject. Any church archaeologist cannot help also becoming something of a librarian. A passion for churches - and books. There are hundreds of church guidebooks out there, all of which have their own merits, but these are a small selection of books that look at different aspects of church history. They look at these amazing buildings through a different lens. These aren't a definitive guide - just books that I find myself returning to time and time again - for both information and pleasure.

Matthew's book list on medieval churches

Matthew Champion Why did Matthew love this book?

Today surviving medieval church wall paintings are a bit of a rarity in England, but during the Middle Ages every church, almost without exception, would have been an absolute riot of colour, with saints, angels, and demons battling their way across the walls. What Rosewell's book does is allow you to understand not just what you are seeing, but how and why they were made in the first place. It explains the way in which the pigments were made, who painted them, and even who paid for them. It also contains an absolutely fantastic selection of images, that bring to life just how vibrant the walls of our churches once were. A gem.

By Roger Rosewell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Medieval Wall Paintings in English & Welsh Churches as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Highly Commended in the Best Archaeological Book category of the 2008 British Archaeological Awards.

Wall paintings are a unique art form, complementing, and yet distinctly separate from, other religious imageryin churches. Unlike carvings, or stained glass windows, their support was the structure itself, with the artist's "canvas" the very stone and plaster of the church. They were also monumental, often larger than life-size images forpublic audiences. Notwithstanding their dissimilarity from other religious art, wall paintings were also an integral part of church interiors, enhancing devotional imagery and inspiring faith and commitment in their own right, and providing an artistic setting…


Book cover of The Night Before Christmas

Susan Grossey Author Of The Man in the Canary Waistcoat

From my list on the 1820s (officially the best decade ever).

Why am I passionate about this?

If you ask people to name a book set in the Regency period, your money is safe if you bet on them picking a Jane Austen. But the Regency was about much more than manners and matrimony. In my own areas of interest – justice, money, and financial crime – everything was changing, with the widespread introduction of paper money and cheques, the recognition that those on trial should have a defence as well as a prosecution, and the creation of modern police in the form of the Metropolitan Police. Dickens made the Victorian era famous, but the decades before good Queen V ascended the throne are equally fascinating.

Susan's book list on the 1820s (officially the best decade ever)

Susan Grossey Why did Susan love this book?

This poem was published anonymously in 1823. It’s such a Christmas staple that it’s hard to imagine how ground-breaking it was, but the simple plot – a family sleeps on Christmas Eve while the father hears a noise outside and sees Santa Claus in a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer – was the first to set that quintessential Christmas scene. A friend of the author was charmed by the poem and sent it anonymously to a New York newspaper. The author finally owned up to it in 1837, confessing that as a Professor of Oriental and Greek Literature, he had been uneasy about being associated with “unscholarly verse” that he had written only to amuse his children. But this “unscholarly verse” made his name and charms us still.

By Clement C. Moore, Christine Brallier (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Night Before Christmas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Twas the night before Christmas and Santa's late night visit has a man and his curious kitty investigating. Did you know that Santa can play the guitar? Well, he can! Each page is filled with thoughtful details, luscious color, and a joyful whimsy. Mosaic artist Christine Brallier has created fifteen stained glass mosaic illustrations in her unique rendition of the classic The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore. Reading the book with her family nearly five years ago, Christine was inspired to create her own version of the story and to put her family and their cat in it.…


Book cover of The Grammar of Ornament: All 100 Color Plates from the Great Victorian Sourcebook of Historic Design

Kevin Cornell Author Of New in Town

From my list on world-building.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe stories to be our species’ instinctual tool for discovering our best selves. Sometimes those stories are about real people in the past, sometimes they’re completely imagined people in the future — sometimes we even swap out the humans for animals or aliens, or sassy anthropomorphized objects. Whatever the case, for a story to work its wonders, its details must be believable, or we reject its premise. These books help make a story believable, and, if you get the alchemy just right, those details can even help tell the story themselves.

Kevin's book list on world-building

Kevin Cornell Why did Kevin love this book?

Clothing isn’t the only residue a culture and its people leave behind. Humans are natural pattern makers, and those patterns often give important insight into what those people value, as well as what fills their natural environment. Materials, dyes, tools… all these things have an influence on how a culture decorates their world and themselves. Patterns are a very subtle way to underscore a moment in a story.

By Owen Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Grammar of Ornament as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This beautiful, highly influential book, long a classic in its field, remains today one of the most comprehensive and best-organized presentations of historic ornamental design. The original 100 color plates, meticulously reproduced here from the rare original folio edition, present a dazzling spectrum of copyright-free design motifs from both ancient and modern cultures. The Grammar of Ornament features designs from around the world: the West to the Far East and many cultures in between.

Graphic and fine artists will find nearly three thousand designs rendered in fine detail from a variety of sources:

Greek and Roman borders and mosaics Celtic…


Book cover of Clara and Mr. Tiffany

Kristin Durfee Author Of Shot

From my list on historical fiction books featuring strong women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I adore historical fiction but find that it is often (like many things) still centered around male experiences. I love getting to read stories and recommend ones that bring to light women’s roles is moving society forward or the un-sung contributions women have made throughout history. 

Kristin's book list on historical fiction books featuring strong women

Kristin Durfee Why did Kristin love this book?

I love how historical fiction teaches me more about a time period and person. This book threw me right into the late 1890s and the world of Louis Comfort Tiffany and his “glass girls”. It was fascinating to hear these un-sung stories of the female workers in his glass factory and I especially loved the banter between Clara and Tiffany and how tough of a woman she was standing up to this powerful and talented man. 

Bonus points, there is a museum near me with the largest collection of Tiffany glass and I was able to visit after reading the book to see some of the pieces and photographs of the glass woman who helped create such beautiful and timeless pieces. 

By Susan Vreeland,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Clara and Mr. Tiffany as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

It’s 1893, and at the Chicago World’s Fair, Louis Comfort Tiffany makes his debut with a luminous exhibition of innovative stained-glass windows that he hopes will earn him a place on the international artistic stage. But behind the scenes in his New York studio is the freethinking Clara Driscoll, head of his women’s division, who conceives of and designs nearly all of the iconic leaded-glass lamps for which Tiffany will long be remembered. Never publicly acknowledged, Clara struggles with her desire for artistic recognition and the seemingly insurmountable challenges that she faces as a professional woman. She also…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Victorian, London, and murder?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Victorian, London, and murder.

Victorian Explore 151 books about Victorian
London Explore 796 books about London
Murder Explore 940 books about murder