Friday, 14 November 2014

Review: Time and the Tapestry

Here I am again, recommending loveliness that I have been sent to review.  Goodness me, it's a wonderful perk of the job that I get to see such marvellous stuff and then ramble on about it to you lot.  This week I have the pleasure of reviewing Time and the Tapestry by John Plotz...

Subtitled 'A William Morris Adventure', the story begins on a rainy Monday afternoon in the front room of Jen and Ed's Grandma's house. Jen (age 13) and Ed (age 10) live with Grandma since the death of their parents, but her finances are looking shaky.  All they have left is a tapestry from her time at Morris and Co.  That and a talking blackbird called Mead. In an Alice-esque moment Jen and Ed tumble into the tapestry and find themselves not in Wonderland, but in Victorian England, hot on the heels of William Morris, who maybe able to help them mend the tapestry and save their Grandma's house.

Detail of Jen and Ed flying on the back of Mead
Along the way, they visit Oxford, London, Kelmscott and Iceland, finding knights, dragons, viking ships and members of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. The children have a quest but will Mead the blackbird be able to carry them home?

William Morris and his Trellis design

John Plotz has brought the world of William Morris alive in an unexpected way.  This book is aimed at children, yet I thoroughly enjoyed the rip-roaring adventure, tracing the items that are listed in a poem while simultaneously telling the story of Morris' life.  The illustrations by Phyllis Saroff are beautifully detailed and reminded me in a way of Kit Williams' work, with the same love of nature and close study.

A horse at Kelmscott
The book is perfect for parents who want to introduce their children to the world of William Morris.  Morris is portrayed as a visionary, a tireless worker, a man of infinite imagination.  It is lovely to see him as such a positive character, freed from any taint of cuckold.  The children's interaction with him and May Morris are the strength of the book and give you a glimpse of what an amazing family they were.  Their achievements both artistic and political are addressed here, together with Morris' own personal journey from acolyte to leader.

Finally, I must say how much I appreciated the note in the back explaining the typeface used in the book.  It is set in Golden Type ITC Standard, a modern font closely based on Gold Type, designed by Morris and Emery Walker for the Kelmscott Press.  It is such attention to detail and love of the subject that makes this book a delight to read.

You can get a copy from Amazon UK here and US here


  1. Absolutely the correct response. I believe I will be mentioning this lovely book again when suggesting Christmas presents next month!

  2. If I am not mistaken, you can still receive a free copy of this book in paperback when joining the William Morris Society U.S. or U.K.

  3. Well, that is marvellous and definitely worth checking out. Thank you!


Many thanks for your comment. I shall post it up shortly! Kx