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English Magic, Jeremy Deller’s Morris-inspired Venice show comes to Walthamstow

English Magic, Jeremy Deller’s Morris-inspired Venice show comes to Walthamstow

Jeremy Deller: English Magic

William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow

18 January to 30 March 2014

Press preview: Friday January 17, 8.30am – 10am

Private view: Friday January 17, 7pm – 10pm

Press are invited to attend either of the above – please RSVP to add your name to the guest list

The UK’s first opportunity to see the Turner Prize winning artist’s installation for the 2013 Venice Biennale

Walthamstow’s William Morris Gallery will be the first UK gallery to host English Magic, Jeremy Deller’s exhibition for the British Pavilion at the 55th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. English Magic was commissioned by the British Council for the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2013. The UK tour of the exhibition is supported by the Art Fund — the national fundraising charity for art. The tour is the first of its kind and will enable audiences across the country to see the exhibition.

Set in Morris’s former home, the Gallery was a natural choice as the first stop on the show’s national tour; one room in the politically-charged exhibition is dedicated to the radical Victorian craftsman, with whom Deller has long been fascinated.

The iconic image of the show is a mural (titled ‘We Sit Starving Amidst our Gold’) depicting a colossal Morris hurling Roman Abramovich’s yacht into the Venetian lagoon. The exhibition also features objects designed or used by Morris himself, selected by Deller from the Gallery’s collection.

Explaining his affinity with Morris, Jeremy Deller said: “For me William Morris is a fascinating character who wore his heart on his sleeve, mixing politics and art in a way no one has managed to since. William Morris Gallery seemed the perfect place to start the tour - it just makes sense.”

Deller intends English Magic to evoke the fantastic, deceptive and transformative powers of popular culture and politics, and their ability to weave spells and change perceptions to both good and bad ends. Music is a recurrent theme in Deller’s work and a film, which encapsulates the essence of the exhibition, will be on display with a soundtrack of versions of classical and contemporary songs, played by the Melodians Steel Orchestra from South London.

Chris Robbins, Leader of Waltham Forest Council said: “The William Morris Gallery is an important part of our cultural heritage and as Morris’ former home, holds a significant amount of history. Being the first UK destination for English Magic is a huge honour for us and knowing that Morris has inspired Deller’s work and this exhibition makes the partnership all the more special.”

The Gallery, which is owned and run by Waltham Forest Council and has recently undergone a £5 million transformation, will host a series of events to accompany the exhibition, including a banner-making workshop and a Q&A with Deller.

After the William Morris Gallery, English Magic will travel to Bristol Museum & Art Gallery and Turner Contemporary, Margate.

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To arrange an interview and/or RSVP please email:

Getting there:

William Morris Gallery, Lloyd Park, Forest Road, Walthamstow, London, E17 4PP

Nearest stations: Walthamstow Central (Victoria line and national rail) or Wood Street (national rail)

Please note that there is limited pay and display parking available on site

A selection of high resolution images are available to download from

About the UK tour of Jeremy Deller’s English Magic

English Magic was commissioned by The British Council for the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2013. The UK tour of the exhibition is supported by The Art Fund — the national fundraising charity for art. The tour is the first of its kind and will enable audiences across the country to see the exhibition at the William Morris Gallery, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery and Turner Contemporary, Margate in 2014.

About Jeremy Deller

Jeremy Deller lives and works in London. He is represented in the UK by The Modern Institute, Glasgow, Art: Concept, Paris and internationally by Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York. He was awarded the Turner Prize in 2004.

Deller’s major solo exhibitions include: All That Is Solid Melts Into Air, Manchester Art Gallery (2013); Sacrilege, Glasgow Green (2012); Joy in People, Hayward Gallery (2012); Jeremy Deller: Manchester Tracks, RISD Museum, Providence (2011); The Modern Institute, Glasgow (2011); Local Artist, Void Gallery, Derry (2010); It Is What It Is: Conversations About Iraq, The New Museum, New York (2009); Carte Blanche à Jeremy Deller, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2008); Munster Sculpture Project, Munster (2007); De la Warr Pavilion, Bexhill (2006).

About the William Morris Gallery

The William Morris Gallery is housed in a Georgian house, built in the 1740s and set in Lloyd Park in Walthamstow, north-east London. It is owned and operated by Waltham Forest Council. The grade II* listed building was Morris's family home from 1848 to 1856. The only public Gallery devoted to Morris, it reopened in August 2012 following a major redevelopment which has attracted widespread public and press acclaim. It is the Art Fund’s Museum of the Year 2013 and has been nominated for the European Museum of the Year Award 2014.

The Gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am - 5pm; admission is free

About the Art Fund

The Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art, helping museums to buy and show great art for everyone. Over the past 5 years we have given over £26m to help museums and galleries acquire works of art for their collections and placed hundreds of gifts and bequests, from ancient sculpture and treasure hoards to Old Master paintings and contemporary commissions. We also help museums share their collections with wider audiences through supporting a range of tours and exhibitions, including the national tour of the Artist Rooms collection and the 2013–2014 tours of Grayson Perry’s tapestries The Vanity of Small Differences (co-owned by the British Council Collection and Arts Council Collection) and Jeremy Deller’s English Magic, the British Council commission for the 2013 Venice Biennale.

Our support for museums extends to the Art Guide app — the comprehensive guide to seeing art across the UK, promoting a network of over 650 museums and galleries throughout the country, and the £100,000 Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year — an annual celebration of the best of UK museums, won in 2013 by the William Morris Gallery.

We are independently funded, the majority of our income coming from over 100,000 members who, through the National Art Pass, enjoy free entry to over 220 museums, galleries and historic places across the UK, as well as 50% off entry to major exhibitions.

Find out more about the Art Fund and the National Art Pass at

Please contact Madeline Adeane, the Press Relations Manager, on 020 7225 4804 or

About the British Council

The British Council has commissioned artists to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale to celebrate the best of emerging and established British art since 1938. Artists representing Britain have included Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Ben Nicholson, Anthony Caro, Bridget Riley, Richard Long, Frank Auerbach, Howard Hodgkin, Barry Flanagan, Anish Kapoor, Richard Hamilton, Rachel Whiteread, Leon Kossoff, Gary Hume, Mark Wallinger, Chris Ofili, Gilbert & George, Tracey Emin, Steve McQueen and most recently Mike Nelson in 2011.

For further information please visit

The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We are a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. Our 7000 staff in over 100 countries work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, Arts, Education and Society programmes. We earn over 75% of our annual turnover of nearly £700 million from services which customers pay for, education and development contracts we bid for and from partnerships. A UK Government grant provides the remaining 25%. We match every £1 of core public funding with over £3 earned in pursuit of our charitable purpose.

For more information, please visit or call our Press Office on +44 (0)20 7389 4268. You can also keep in touch with the British Council through and

If you would like more information about any of these press releases or have a different media enquiry please contact us at or on 020 8496 4521 / 4802.

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