The Protest Paintings reproduced here were made during and immediately after the student demonstrations against increases in tuition fees and education cuts that occurred from late 2010 into 2011. They use painted images of slogans taken from banners and graffiti from both recent and historical moments of protest and surround them with William Morris patterned fabric frames. Had Morris been alive he would very likely have been on the student demonstrations; as one of the leading socialist activists of his time, one can imagine him cheering on the students. As a designer, he thought that interior design had a fundamental role to play in the transformation of everyday life. His hand printed textile and wallpaper designs are highly schematised representations of nature, where it is always summer and never winter; the plants are always in leaf, often flowering, with their fruits available in abundance, ripe for picking, and with no human labour in sight. This is a utopian vision, an image of Cokaygne, the medieval mythical land of plenty, but easily acceptable to the upper middle classes and even some aristocrats of the time. Today his work is very safe and comfortable, and his wallpaper and fabric designs are widely reproduced in machine printed form and can be found furnishing the most conservative semis of middle England. Although a form of democratisation of Morris’ designs, their wide availability is also a debasement, as a compromise is made whereby what Morris called “beauty” is sacrificed for mass production. It is the space opened up by the contradictions between how Morris’ designs can be read, and how they have subsequently come to be used and understood, that the Protest Paintings navigate. In the Protest Paintings, cheap contemporary patterned furnishing fabrics have been wrapped around the frames, the traditional home of the decorative. Some of the fabrics use wallpaper and fabric designs by Morris, others use designs produced by Morris & Co. but designed by others, such as John Henry Dearle. The fabrics frame the painted images of the slogans. The slogans carry with them a long history of struggle. Liberté Egalité Fraternité ou la Mort has it origins in the French revolution. Property Is Theft is a slogan by French 19th century anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Educate, Agitate, Organize is a Wobbly slogan and Workers of the World Unite is from the Communist Manifesto. A number of slogans (for example, Down with the Spectacle-Commodity Society, Be Realistic Demand the Impossible and Work is the Blackmail of Survival) originate in French Situationism. The slogans might appear to be clichés. Perhaps the Morris fabrics, too, in their contemporary mass produced form, can seem overly familiar and drained of meaning. In domesticating the slogans for the gallery or home environment, the Morris frames might be seen as rendering them mute. But at the same time the voices of the slogans resonate, sometimes across the centuries, and in the new context of the Morris frames, there is the possibility of reading them afresh. And, of course, the dialogue works both ways: the slogans cry out, ‘charging up’ and revivifying the political content of the Morris fabrics for a new era.