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Kelmscott Manor & Garden

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Mary Lobb From Cornwall to Kelmscott: A Life Revealed


10th June until 28th October 2017

MFV with pipe   exhibition title

The discovery of a bequest made to the National Library of Wales in 1939 by Mary Frances Vivian Lobb has inspired this eye-opening exhibition. It is the first exhibition to focus on Mary Frances Vivian Lobb (1878–1939), the companion of 22 years to May Morris while May lived at Kelmscott Manor (rural Oxfordshire). May, a designer and embroidery historian in her own right, was the younger daughter of famous Victorian designer, poet and social thinker William Morris (1834–96).

This exhibition will contain photographs, documents and ephemera from the collections of The National Library of Wales and Kelmscott Manor – most of which have never been on public display before. Both organisations hope the exhibition will inspire greater interest into the life of Miss Lobb and encourage further research into this unique collection.

Little has previously been known about Mary Lobb, and the exhibition sheds light on her origins and family, the years she spent at Kelmscott and her relationship with May Morris. The exhibition will showcase photographs from their travels to Iceland as well as their many camping trips across England and Wales, and illustrate their mutual love of gardening and animals. In addition, it will also contain representative examples of the archive’s important and previously unseen reference material relating to William Morris’s research activities for his last great endeavour, the Kelmscott Press.

The Society of Antiquaries of London and the National Library of Wales exhibitions service have worked in partnership to mount the exhibition at Kelmscott Manor. It has been co-curated by Simon Evans (The National Collection of Welsh Photographs) and Dr Kathy Haslam (Kelmscott Manor). Simon was responsible for identifying, re-assembling and researching this extensive archive, which was deposited at National Library Wales in 1939 at the wish of Mary Lobb herself.

Supported by the Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).


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