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Talwin Morris
(1865 – 1911)

Talwin Morris was from Winchester, the son of an auctioneer. He trained as an architect but developed an interest in interior design and furniture. In 1893 he moved to Glasgow to take up position as Art Director at Glasgow book publishers Blackie & Sons, responsible for graphics, both within text and bindings. In Glasgow he befriended many of the Glasgow designers and in particular The Four

 

Morris designed furniture, metalwork and jewellery but is probably best known for his book cover designs which were produced in large numbers and considered very avant garde at the time. Through his designs for books, he introduced the Glasgow Style into homes all over the country. 

 

In his work Morris adopted a range of motifs, often using the peacock, highly stylised plant forms, including roses, hearts, squares and strong vertical lines. His metalwork is often set with semi-precious stones. Morris died at 45 years in 1911 and is buried under a headstone designed by Mackintosh. His work featured in The Studio and in both the 1900 Vienna Secession and Turin 1902 exhibitions. 

 

Glasgow Museums has over 80 examples of his works, a collection gifted by his widow between 1939 and 1946. The collection includes works on paper, architectural and design drawings, metalwork, furniture, textiles, photographs, sketchbooks, a manuscript and a number of books bound with covers designed by Morris. The collection also includes objects he collected made by his friends Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Margaret and Frances Macdonald and James Herbert McNair. 

Examples of his work appear at auction fairly regularly, probably due to the high volume of books published which he had designed. His work often adopts the use of a hidden signature.

Talwin Morris Book Covers
Image courtesy of Lyon and Turnbull, Fine Art Auctioneers
Tales from Arabian Nights
Grey cloth with a frame blocked in black. The series title above in sans serif letters interspersed with inverted teardrops and flanked by blocked lime-green verticals. Courtesy of Glasgow School of Art Library.
Our Frank
Scarlet cloth with rows of birds outlined in white that fly from right to left between dark forest-green cypress trees. Lilac ground. Courtesy of Glasgow School of Art Library.
Modern Power Generators
Book binding, case bound in green cloth, blocked in black and gold, published 1908.
The Universe, 1906
TM monogram in white to bottom right. Courtesy of Glasgow School of Art Library.
Poems by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Green soft leather with gilt decoration. A seven-stemmed plant rises into clusters of seven speared Glasgow Style roses. The central rose sits tallest. At either side, a songbird perching within the roses and facing the other in mirror image. Inverted teardrops below, with two blocked in gilt to base. TM monogram in cartouche to bottom right. Courtesy of Glasgow School of Art Library.
Her Friend & Mine
TM monogram in eau-de-nil to bottom right.
Courtesy of Glasgow School of Art Library
Monogram
Talwin Morris monogram in gilt. Courtesy Glasgow School of Art Library
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