Walking in a William Morris wonderland

‘All rooms ought to look as if they were lived in, and to have, so to say, a friendly welcome ready for the incomer,’ said artist, philosopher and political theorist, William Morris, who’s legacy is reflected in the popular demand of Arts & Crafts wallpapers and fabrics to this day. Lived in? Do you think it’s an excuse not to tidy up after a house party? Perhaps not.

Through his company, Morris & Co., design genius William Morris produced some of the most exciting textiles and wallpapers of his era and this year the company celebrates its 150-year anniversary. To mark the occasion, Morris & Co. is launching four collections, which I thought I’d highlight as they’re all so wonderfully nostalgic; Archive Prints, Archive Wallpapers, Archive Weaves and Archive Embroideries.

With these collections, the Morris & Co. design studio has revisited many of William Morris’ best loved designs, taken from the archives and from some of Morris’ residences including Kemscott Manor, now owned by The Society of Antiquaries of London.

If you go all Morris & Co-chic in an entire room I think the result might look a tad ‘heavy’, but with the odd feature wall here and decorative cushion there, it’s a sure way to add character and timeless appeal. And it will stop you having to worry about redecorating every 5 mins. Check out some of the highlights here…

Archive Prints

Orchard (2011) – This pretty design by Alison Gee was inspired by Morris & Co’s mediaeval tapestries, which were woven at Merton Abbey. Small groups of flowers mingle happily within a fruit tree setting.

Archive Wallpapers

Pimpernel (1876) – This design was probably one of Morris’ personal favourites as it hung in the dining room at Kelmscott House, Hammersmith. The pattern, with its mirrored symmetry and the wild, windblown flower heads is typical of Morris’ greatest designs.

Archive Weaves

Branch (1871) – Taken from the wallpaper design, the Branch fabric is now woven in ‘cut and loop pile’ velvet to create a modern fabric that sits well in both Arts and Crafts and contemporary interiors.

Archive Embroideries

Kelmscott Tree (2011) – This embroidery on cotton/linen and silk is based on the bed-hangings in Morris’ bedroom at Kelmscott Manor.

To check out the series of archive exhibitions being held at National Trust houses to mark the 150-year anniversary visit the Morris & Co. website

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Emily Peck, Editor

View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor