William Morris Fabrics & Wallpapers
William Morris – Artist, Philosopher, Poet and Designer
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.Inspired by his love of mediaeval art and design, Morris set out to revive the traditions of craftsmanship which, in his mind, had been lost during the Industrial Revolution.
He encouraged hand craftsmanship, which in turn would enable workers to achieve satisfaction and pleasure in their work. Furthermore, Morris demanded that good quality furnishings should be available to all and not just the wealthy. Regrettably however, his two aims were to some extent at odds with each other, as hand crafted goods were often much more expensive than machine made products. By the mid 1860’s, Morris concentrated all his decorative prowess on his wallpaper designs, most famously Trellis, Daisy and Fruit.
In 1875 Morris set up a new company trading as Morris & Company. This period proved to be his most prolific and creative as a pattern designer and he devoted much time to developing and perfecting ranges of textiles which were reproductions of early 19th Century prints. In 1881, Morris acquired a disused factory which allowed him to perfect his indigo discharge print technique, together with madder reds which would become the hallmark of the Morris style.
Originating in the Arts and Crafts movement popular in late Victorian ‘artistic homes of taste’, the company’s designs have never been more widely appreciated than they are now. Today Morris & Co. guarantees authentic versions of those designs alongside new interpretations, using innovations in printing and weaving technology to create up-to-date fabric and wallpaper designs with timeless appeal.
Here is just a small selection of William Morris’s prodigious output.
One of Morris’ earliest wallpaper designs, Fruit first appeared in 1866. This diagonal trail of leaves and fruit is built up in layers of blocked colour overlaid with lines and dots. The style reflects its craft origins as a wallpaper printed by hand from a series of twelve wooden blocks.
Granada is printed on heavy textured linen and is based on a woven silk velvet brocade designed by Morris in 1884. Granada wallpaper is adapted from the same design.
First printed in 1868-70, Indian wallpaper and fabric was originally printed as a wallpaper for Morris by Jeffrey & Co, and is a highly stylised interpretation of an 18th century Indienne pattern.
At Fabric Gallery & Interiors we have stocked William Morris since we opened our Dunnington shop. Morris designs never go out of fashion and continues to be one of our most timeless brands. If you’d like to see Wm Morris fabrics or wallpapers please do come and visit us, or contact us for samples.