The reprinting of Utopia by the Kelmscott Press reflects Morris’s interest in both the medieval past and a potentially transformed future; in the foreword to the 1893 edition, he wrote that Utopia provides ‘a link between the surviving Communism of the Middle Ages […] and the hopeful and practical progressive movement of today’. Morris also explored the idea of utopia in his own writing, notably News from Nowhere, first published in 1890.
The story is set in a future England, into which the protagonist, William Guest, wakes from a dream. In the England of the twenty-second century, most of the buildings have been replaced by fields and countryside, there is no private property and people live together in large communal dwellings. It is a sustainable society, based on craft production, where pleasure in art is fully integrated into social life and the workmanship of even small and trivial objects is highly valued.
This utopia of craft corresponds with many of the principles Morris applied practically in his design and printing work, and his belief in the transformative social role of the arts and culture.