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About Talwin Morris

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Talwin Morris


Talwin Morris Song Bird Jewelry BY Jae Salvage
Talwin Morris Songbird
Green Salmon

Talwin Morris was born in Winchester on June 14, 1865.  His mother died in childbirth and he was raised by the rest of his family. From a young age he was encouraged to study theology. In 1882, he was employed in the architect’s office of Martin Brooks, where he became interested in architectural drawing and architecture.

In 1891, he developed his interest in the graphic arts when he was appointed the position of sub editor and designer in the Saturday weekly publication of Black and White, which was published by Cassell and Co. Here he was responsible for designing head pieces, initial letters and decorative panels for the publication.

In 1892 he married Alice marsh, and in 1893 they moved to Glasgow where he became a resident at Dunglass castle. Here he was appointed as Arts director for the Glasgow based Blackie and Sons.

Morris established close connections with Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh, Herbert McNair and Frances MacDonald.  He became aware of the trends in Glasgow Style design. While working for Blackie and Sons he also worked as a freelance designer for Cassell, Morrison Bros., Pearson, Heinemann, Cotta and Maudie Select Library.


After 1898 he worked in collaboration with Gresham Publishing Co, and in 1899 moved to a small house called ‘Torwood’ on the hills above Bowling.  It was at this house that he passed away on March 29th 1911, aged 45.

See Talwin Morris Designs 

Blackie & Sons

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Blackie and Sons was founded in November 1809 by John Blackie, Archibald Fullarton and William Sommerville. At this time, books were sold by subscription as there were few books shops. Most books were bought by the upper and middle class unbound and the proud owners would bind them themselves. Publishing houses were increasingly producing machine bound books for other areas of the market. Blackie and Sons first headquarters were situated at Black Boy Close off the Gallowgate in Glasgow, and in 1811 the company moved to the Saltmarket. John Blackie had deep religious convictions and believed that books were a source of enlightenment. 1831 there is dissolution of Blackie and Fullarton, and they become two separate companies.

John Blackie Junior, born 1805, with his love of literature became involved with the company and renamed it W.G.Blackie and Co. This lead to the retirement of John Blackie Senior in 1860, and his two other sons, Walter and Robert become partners with John Blackie Junior. Each of the brothers brought into this partnership their own ideas and interests, Walter with his scholarly background, knowledge, languages and printing techniques, and Robert, with his interest in the arts, (he studied under Ingres in Paris) and book illustration.

At the same time, John Blackie Senior had innovative ideas. He opened new agencies, looked to new printing techniques, issued new books, and emphasised new quality of production. Most significant of these innovations was the reorientation of 1874-1900.

In this period, John Junior and John Senior both died, leaving Robert and Walter to be sole partners. As of 1870, elementary education was now compulsory and there was a new need for schoolbooks, and Blackie and Sons became particularly interested in this area of the market. Blackie’s also produced University level books and produced reward books for educational prizes. It is at this time that the bindings of books became increasingly important and Blackie’s introduced the corporate identity of the Talwin Morris style that is epitomised in the series that Blackies produces, such as the Red Letter Library.

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