Talwin Morris

Designer

Talwin Morris (1865–1911) was born in Winchester and educated at Lancing College. 1 From 1880 to 1885 he trained as an architect in the Reading office of his uncle, Joseph Morris. He then moved to London where he turned to graphic art, becoming sub-art editor on the weekly magazine Black and White in 1891. He married in 1892, and the following year applied successfully for the post of 'Art Manager' with the Glasgow publisher Blackie & Sons Ltd. He and his wife set up home at Dunglass, 17.5 km W. of the city. They got to know Francis H. ('Fra') Newbery, and were frequent visitors to the studio of Frances and Margaret Macdonald, where they also met Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Mackintosh often stayed at Dunglass before his marriage to Margaret Macdonald, and the Morrises and Mackintoshes became close friends. 2

The numerous book covers Morris designed for Blackie are characterised by sparse, predominantly linear, ornament, including whiplash curves, stylised botanical motifs, and sans serif lettering. He was a leading exponent of the Glasgow Style, producing furniture and jewellery as well as the book covers for which he is best known. He also designed the Blackie family monument in the Glasgow Necropolis in 1910. 3 His work was published in the Studio and in Dekorative Kunst, and he exhibited alongside Mackintosh at the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society in London in 1896, and in the Scottish section of the 1902 International Exhibition of Modern Decorative Art in Turin. 4 It was on his recommendation that Walter W. Blackie approached Mackintosh to design The Hill House, the major domestic commission of his career. 5 Morris owned Mackintosh's 1896 watercolour Part Seen, Imagined Part, for which he designed a repoussť metal frame. It was given to the Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum by his widow. 6

Notes:

1: Gerald Cinamon, 'Talwin Morris, Blackie and the Glasgow Style', The Private Library, 3rd series, vol. 10.1, Spring 1987, pp. 3–47; The Hunterian, University of Glasgow: letter from Alice Talwin Morris to Thomas Howarth, 2 May 1948, GLAHA 53926.

2: The Hunterian, University of Glasgow: letter from Alice Talwin Morris to Thomas Howarth, 11 October 1944, GLAHA 53924; letter from Alice Talwin Morris to Thomas Howarth, 2 May 1948, GLAHA 53926.

3: Elizabeth Williamson, Anne Riches and Malcolm Higgs, Buildings of Scotland: Glasgow, London: Penguin, 1990, p. 140.

4: Gerald Cinamon, 'Talwin Morris (1865–1911): a checklist of works relating to publishing', The Private Library, 4th series, vol. 3.1, Spring 1990, pp. 32–42; Gerald Cinamon, 'Talwin Morris, Blackie and the Glasgow Style', The Private Library, 3rd series, vol. 10.1, Spring 1987, pp. 3–47.

5: The Hunterian, University of Glasgow: letter from Alice Talwin Morris to Thomas Howarth, 11 October 1944, GLAHA 53924.

6: The Hunterian, University of Glasgow: letter from Alice Talwin Morris to Thomas Howarth, 2 May 1948, GLAHA 53926.