William Morris was the single most influential designer of the nineteenth century, and remains today one of the best known of all British designers. This is due to his extraordinary talent as a pattern designer, his colourful and inspiring life story and to his forceful intellect and personality. Morris was much more than a designer, he was a fervent socialist, scholar, translator and publisher, an environmental campaigner, writer and poet. William Morris was born in Walthamstow in 1834 to an affluent middle class family, the son of a wealthy city stockbroker. At the age of fourteen he was sent to Marlborough College and was much impressed by the High Church Oxford movement. With this in mind, he entered Exeter College, Oxford in 1853, studying theology as he intended to enter the Church. During this time he met Edward Burne-Jones who was taking Holy Orders, but would later become one of the great Pre-Raphaelite artists and remained Morriss closest friend for life.