A double image. On the left, J.H. Dearle's wallpaper "Iris." On the right, Kehinde Wiley, detail of "Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness" a portrait of a black woman in a modern dress with Iris as its backdrop.

Left: J. H. Dearle for Morris & Co., Iris, designed 1887. Color woodblock print on paper. Height 84.7 cm size of volume, Width: 66.7 cm size of volume. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Used with permission.
Right: Kehinde Wiley, detail of Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness, 2013. Oil on canvas, 48” x 36.” Photograph courtesy of Garrett Ziegler via Flickr under Creative Commons License.


On April 28, 2021, Monica Bowen (Seattle University) presented her talk “The Bittersweet Sensations of William Morris and Kehinde Wiley” to a digital audience on Zoom. She explored the use of Morris & Co. designs which feature as the backgrounds of portraits made by contemporary painter Kehinde Wiley. A question and answer session followed.

The event was recorded, and the video is available below or on our Youtube channel.