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William Morris Gallery presents David Mabb: Announcer

The William Morris Gallery presents Announcer, an exhibition by British artist David Mabb that explores the revolutionary politics of William Morris and Russian designer El Lissitzky.

Both Morris and Lissitzky wanted to change people’s lives through their work, believing passionately in the revolutionary potential of design. But while Morris saw beauty in the past, Lissitzky sought a new visual language for the future.

In Announcer, Mabb combines and contrasts the Utopian ideas of these two men through their seminal book designs: Morris’s Kelmscott Chaucer and Lissitsky’s For the Voice, a revolutionary book of poems by Vladimir Mayakovsky that is now considered one of the finest achievements in Russian avant-garde bookmaking.

Comprising 30 canvasses, Announcer takes over the special exhibition space in the William Morris Gallery, which is owned and run by Waltham Forest Council. Mabb interweaves the two designs so that Morris and Lissitzky’s graphics – and their visions of the future - are never able to fully merge or separate.

Also on display is the William Morris Gallery’s original copy of the Kelmscott Chaucer, alongside an original For the Voice, on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

David Mabb commented:

“What I hope to achieve with Announcer is to suggest a new way of doing things, drawing on both Morris’s and Lissitzky’s ideas whilst acknowledging their contradictory nature. I don’t want to tell viewers what to think, the work isn’t didactic like that – they’re being asked to be active readers.

“Given that Morris plays such a central role in all my work, the William Morris Gallery is an ideal place to show anything I do. But I also want the work to project Morris out of ‘heritage’ as a concrete example of how he is useful today. This is very Morrisian, looking to the past for ideas for the future.”

Leader of Waltham Forest Council, Chris Robbins, said: “Running alongside this great new exhibition is an exciting programme of events for visitors to the Gallery. Whether it’s a family day making imaginary machines of the future, a workshop exploring Russian book design or a talk with the artist David Mabb himself, there’s something to suit everyone.”

Notes to editors

David Mabb: Announcer

27 June to 27 September 2015

William Morris Gallery

Forest Road, London E17 4PP

Wednesday to Sunday, 10am - 5pm; admission free

Announcer is a touring exhibition from Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea and is supported by Goldsmiths, University of London.

For further information please contact Ian Mason:

Tel: 020 8496 4726

Mob: 07740 046143


High resolution images can be downloaded from: (file available until 11pm on 14 June 2015)

Related events

Announcer is accompanied by an extensive events programme for adults and families:

David Mabb in Conversation

Wednesday 8 July, 7pm

Mabb and writer Larne Abse Gogarty discuss Announcer and explore the utopian possibilities of design in relation to William Morris.

£5, booking essential. To book email or telephone 020 8496 4390.

October: Ten Days that Shook the World (film screening)

Dirs. G. Alexandrov & S. Eisenstein, 1928, PG

Thursday 23 July, 7.30pm

Beginning with the crumbling of the Russian monarchy, this revolutionary classic depicts the growing conflicts at Petrograd, with hero Lenin (Vasili Nikandrov) leading the rebellion that results in the overthrow of the Tsar's Winter Palace.

Tickets £6.50, £5 concessions, refreshments provided. Doors open 7pm. Book online at or available on door if not already sold out.

Family Day: Russian Constructivism

Saturday 25 July, 10am – 4pm

Free activities for families of all ages. Explore Announcer and make imaginary machines of the future.

Free, drop-in event.

Constructing Pages: full-day book illustration workshop

Sunday 26 July, 10.30am – 4.30pm

This illustration workshop will look at the art of Russian book design. Using paint and collage, artist Amber Khokhar will teach you how to combine text, poetry and images to create your own illustrated page design. Includes a curatorial tour of Announcer. No previous experience required.

£30, booking essential. To book email or telephone 020 8496 4390.

Curatorial Tour

Thursday 30 July, 3pm

Join curator Rowan Bain to gain a unique insight into the artists and books that inspired Announcer.

Free, no need to book.

WMG Late: Under Construction

Thursday 6 August, 6.30pm – 10.30pm

Inspired by Announcer, the Gallery’s popular late night event celebrates the Russian avant-garde and Constructivism. Get in the spirit with a vodka bar, free hands-on workshops and DJ. Plus revolutionary poetry from the Forest Poets.

Free, drop-in event.

Creative Kids V Lissitzky!

Thursday 13 August, 10am – 11.30am (repeated 1pm – 2.30pm)

The Gallery’s regular session for under-5s takes its inspiration from Lissitzky.

In partnership with Lloyd Park Children's Centre. Free, booking essential. To book email or telephone 020 8496 4390.

About the William Morris Gallery

The William Morris Gallery is the only public Gallery devoted to William Morris: designer, craftsman and radical socialist. Housed in the grade II* listed building that was Morris's family home from 1848 to 1856, the Gallery reopened in August 2012 following a major redevelopment that attracted widespread public and press acclaim.

Since its relaunch the Gallery has developed an ambitious contemporary programme, hosting Morris-inspired exhibitions by artists including Grayson Perry, Jeremy Deller and Yinka Shonibare.

The Gallery, which is owned and run by Waltham Forest Council, was awarded the Art Fund prize for Museum of the Year in 2013 and was been nominated for the European Museum of the Year Award in 2014.

About David Mabb

David Mabb lives and works in London where he is currently Reader in Art at Goldsmiths, University of London.

David Mabb has exhibited internationally and has had many solo exhibitions including shows in the UK in London, Manchester and Liverpool; in India in Jaipur and New Delhi; in Canada in Toronto, Oakville, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Windsor; and in the USA, Ireland, Norway and Lithuania. He was Abbey Fellow in Painting at The British School at Rome in 2003 and curated William Morris: “ministering to the swinish luxury of the rich” at the Whitworth Art Gallery in 2004.

His work is in many public collections including the Anokhi Museum of Handprinting, Jaipur; Barts & The London NHS Trust, London; British Council, New Delhi; Delaware Art Museum; National Gallery of Art, Vilnius; National Museum of M. K. Ciurlionis, Kaunas; Oakville Galleries, Ontario; Paisley Museum and Art Gallery, Glasgow; Southwark Art Collection, London; St. Lawrence University, New York; University Museums, University of Delaware; Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.

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.

For out of hours please email or call 07966 915 157.