Linda Parry Research Archive

Scope and Content

In 2017 Linda Parry – curator, textile historian and William Morris scholar – gifted her research archive to the William Morris Gallery. Compiled over nearly five decades, the collection includes photographs, handwritten notes, correspondence, extracts from publications and journals and copies of manuscript material, covering all aspects of Morris's life and work, his business Morris & Co., as well as many of his collaborators.

Its value lies not only in the wealth of information it contains, but also in the way it has been organised and classified. This is particularly true of the visual material. Nowhere else is it possible, for example, to view side by side images of nearly every known carpet manufactured by Morris & Co., or browse through photographs of many of the interiors the firm were commissioned to decorate in the late nineteenth century. Taken as a whole, it also offers insight into how serious study of Morris's decorative arts evolved in the second half of the twentieth century and the network of scholars, museum professionals, collectors and dealers, who contributed to it. The organisation of the William Morris centenary exhibition at the V&A in 1996, conceived and curated by Parry, is particularly well documented.

Naturally, a lot of the information it contains has been published and researchers are recommended to consult Linda Parry's published works in the first instance. A full list of titles can be downloaded from the William Morris Gallery's website.

The archive includes a collection of over 4000 slides that have been digitised and are available to view in the Reading Room. Divided into 105 categories, they provide a rich body of visual references for the work of Morris, his circle and Arts and Crafts design in Britain and abroad. Particularly strong on textiles, highlights include images from specialist periodicals, pattern books, photographs of interiors, as well as British textiles in European collections (e.g. Textile Museum, Krefeld, Germany and Mulhouse Museum of Printed Textiles, France). The slides were collected over several decades as reference material and for delivering lectures. The images are being made available for research purposes only (anyone wishing to reproduce must seek permission from the copyright holder).

Administrative / Biographical History

Linda Parry studied at Liverpool College of Art (1964-67) and the Central School of Art and Design in London (1967-68). She began her career at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in the late 1960s. In 1971 she joined the Textiles and Dress department of the V&A, where she worked until her retirement in 2005, then Deputy Keeper of Textiles, Furniture and Fashion.

The publication of the first edition of William Morris Textiles in 1983 was a watershed moment in Morris studies, and the revised and expanded edition of 2013 is the definitive work on the subject. For a full list of publications please see the Reading List published on the William Morris Gallery website. Parry has curated many exhibitions including Textiles of the Arts and Crafts Movement (V&A: 1988) and the William Morris centenary exhibition (V&A, Tokyo, Kyoto, Nagoya: 1996). She acted in an advisory capacity for International Arts and Crafts (V&A, Minneapolis, San Francisco: 2005-6) and Morris to Mingei (Tokyo, Kyoto, Aichi: 2007-8), and was a senior consultant on the V&A's British Galleries (2003).

Over her long career, Parry has supported many institutions connected with William Morris. She has served as Honorary Curator of Kelmscott Manor (1992-2005), President of the William Morris Society (2000-2005), Patron of the Friends of Red House (2003), Trustee of Red House and Trustee of 7 Hammersmith Terrace (Emery Walker Trust). She has also served on the boards of the Museum of Domestic Decoration and Architecture, Middlesex University and the Textile Museum, Toronto. In 2006 she was awarded an MBE.


The original order of the research materials has been retained. The files are organised thematically. More detailed information on the contents of individual files is available from the William Morris Gallery upon request.

Access Information

The archive is open to everyone to consult but visits must be pre-booked. Appointments are usually available Wednesday - Friday, 10am-5pm.
Please email at least two weeks before you would like to visit ( or call 020 8496 4390.

A small number of files have restricted access.

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated to the William Morris Gallery by Linda Parry in 2017.

Conditions Governing Use

Photography without flash is permitted for research purposes. All researchers will be asked to sign a photography consent form.

To reproduce images consent must be sought from the copyright holder.