William Morris

A few days ago, an older couple went through my line at the grocery store. The husband is a frequent customer, but the wife doesn't come in as often, so she said, "Hi, Beth! I haven't seen you in a while! How are you?" We did the small talk thing for a minute, and she said, "What are you studying again?" I politely told her that I had graduated about a year ago, in Art History.

While telling me how she can't believe I'm already done, and how fast the time goes, her husband chimes in, "Oh neat! I have some William Morris ties! I should wear one to show you!"
In my head: William Morris ties? Who the heck is William Morris? Should I know this?? and.. ties??
Out loud: "Oh, cool! Yeah you should wear one sometime."
The man: "Oh I wear them all the time. I have, like, ten!"
"That's awesome." I'm glad their purchase is finished and there's another customer coming...

So, basically, when people hear you studied Art History, they assume you should know the name of every single artist that ever existed. And of course, I couldn't make myself look stupid, so I had to play along!

So I went home and wiki'd William Morris. Apparently he was an English textile designer during the 19th Century. That's great and everything, but uh.. the list of English artists that I am familiar with consists of JMW Turner, Thomas Gainsborough, John Constable, Henry Moore, Benjamin West who doesn't really count, because he was born in Pennsylvania, and William Blake who's mostly known for poetry.

That's a grand total of six artists. We would very briefly touch on furniture design in a few classes, but we didn't talk much about textiles. Maybe if I had studied Interior Design?

His designs are nice enough, I suppose... but next time that man comes in, if he happens to be wearing a tie with a print that looks like it belongs on an ugly armchair, I can look at him with my all-knowing-art-historian's smile and say, "William Morris?"

Thanks, Wikipedia.

Ok, I think this one's kinda pretty.


Cait said...

yay! another grocery store memoir! =) love it! people are so random!

Symantha said...

lol ooohhhh customers. That's super funny.

Rachel said...

I once had a William Morris wing chair... The dog thought it would be a nice snack. I miss that chair. It was a classic!