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Holding onto the Summer with our favourite William Morris designs…

21st August 2017

We were reviewing our website the other day and were struck with the realisation that we’ve got such a huge range of licensed William Morris designs right now! Each one rich in history, standing the test of time as they’re still wildly popular so many years after they were designed and each a work of art in their own right. We thought we’d give a little overview of our top Summer designs that we keep around the house year round to keep that sunny feeling alive!

Pimpernel

Pimpernel was first produced in 1876 by William Morris, who named it Pimpernel after the small pimpernel flowers within the background which are almost glossed over as the large poppies dominate it. It’s always interesting to see the names of designs where the artist has singled out what appears at first to be a secondary aspect of the piece to new it. Pimpernel marks the first example of Morris using a turnover pattern. If you put all his pieces in a timeline of their creation, you can almost follow the influences he had during the different periods in his life. After the creation of this design for example, he abandoned the tonal shading seen in the Pimpernel design in favour of lighter or more linear patterns.

Pimpernel can be seen in the Billiard Room at Wightwick Manor – if you ever have a chance to visit Wightwick make sure you pay attention to the designs throughout the Manor. We have this design in green and also in cream, which would you choose?

Golden Lily

Golden Lily was designed in 1897, and remains one of our best selling licensed William Morris designs, it is beautiful with intertwining tulips, lilies and leaves. We’d mention here that the fabric we sell by the half meter looks incredible as curtains – we’ve seen many customer photos who have used the Golden Lily on design in a curtain and then complimented it with accessories such as cushions on the sofa or a custom lampshade in the same factory. It looks amazing!

Merton

Available in blue and white as well as green and cream, we can never decide which we prefer! It was first produced by Morris in 1888 when his company Morris & Co. moved their premises to Merton Abbey in Surrey in 1881. Previously, the company had been located in Queens Square, Bloomsbury and had been called ‘Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co.’ before being reformed. It was the first design the company printed on rotary screens – an incredible achievement. We’ve blogged before about what a pioneer Morris was – always with a thirst to learn new techniques to make his art better and the design clearer on fabric.

 

Willow Bough

First designed in 1887, like many other of William Morris’ designs, it was first produced as a wallpaper. His daughter, May Morris used the pattern to decorate her bedroom. It was in 1895 that the design was adapted for use on fabric and it was then block printed in Merton Abbey. We love little stories or quotes from Morris and his close friends/ family/ associates about his work and so we love that May spoke about the design and discussed where he got his inspiration for the design and to think it was time spent with his daughter he got the inspiration. “We were walking one day by our little stream that runs into the Thames and my father pointed out the detail and soon after the paper was done.” In blue or in green and cream – which colour way is your favourite?

Sweet Briar

Designed in 1912 by John Henry Dearle, Sweet Briar was again designed as a wallpaper and was adapted to a fabric shortly after. Dearle was a British textile and stained-glass designer, trained by Morris and eventually became Morris & Co.’s chief designer in 1890. He was greatly inspired by Morris himself and Morris’ influences of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. After Morris’ death in 1896, he became Art Director of the company and following Edward Burne-Jones’ death in 1890, became the principle stained glass designer. He remained true to Morris’ vision for the company and didn’t stay far from work Morris produced himself.

We adore this design – a soft cream background with climbing rose stems in green and soft browns allow the pink sweet briar roses to become prominent in the design. Beautiful in any room in the house, these colours look beautiful in the home year-round.

 

Lily

Designed by Morris in 1874, Lily is a beautiful design which has long been one of our favourites this time of year. The design incorporates the willow background with lilies and wild flowers. We can tell which were Morris’ favourite designs or the ones that inspired him the most as they’re the ones that decorated his own home. The Lily wallpaper was used to decorate his bedroom at Kelmscott Manor, his Gloucestershire home. The house and it’s contents were preserved after his death in 1896 by his younger daughter May Morris, before being passed to the Society of Antiquaries

Which is your favourite Morris design?

 

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Bertie’s been loving Bridgerton and thought he’d pose with the wisteria wearing his Daisy cravat 😉
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When the audio accurately sums up how you feel about a design 🫶🏻 Beautiful Sweet Briar was first designed in 1912, we love the sweet little pink flowers in the climbing rose stems 🌹 This licensed Morris design is now back in stock, let us know if you’d like a sample! ✨
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Our William Morris Willow Bough green placemats are now back in stock! ✨ They’re a beautiful addition to the table for every meal time 🫶🏻
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🌷 William Morris month day 30 🌷 As we come near the end of Morris month, we’re celebrating with a fabric stack, full of beautiful licensed designs, which is your fave? 🌿 “Remember that a pattern is either right or wrong. It cannot be forgiven for blundering, as a picture may be which has otherwise great qualities in it. It is with a pattern as with a fortress, it is no stronger than its weakest point.”- William Morris 🤍 
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🐭 William Morris month day 29 🐭 We’ve been loving William Morris month to celebrate Morris’s birthday month, spreading his floral magic by posting everyday - have you discovered a new favourite design of his this month? 🌿 We absolutely love these little mice and the banner by @mini_and_bob - aren’t they so lovely! 🐭🤍
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🌷William Morris Month Day 28🌷 Happy Easter weekend everyone! 🐥 We hope everyone has a lovely long bank holiday 🌿 We’re already planning some beautiful William Morris tablescapes, nothing too complex, all you need is some Morris florals, some flowers and lots of chocolate! 🐰
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🌷 William Morris Month Day 26 🌷 Absolutely loving a spring time floral on the table right now, especially when paired with an Easter craft or two! 🤍
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🌿 William Morris Month Day 25 🌿 Florals on florals on florals; all of the William Morris florals just look so beautiful together and, as Morris said himself, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful” 🌷
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🐥 William Morris Month Day 23 🐥 Loving the sunshine this week for springtime 🌿 We absolutely love Willow Bough on the table in the sunshine paired with spring blooms 🌷
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🌷 William Morris Month Day 22🌷 A themed table is always our favourite, we’ve been loving setting the table lately with an Easter theme- especially when it means we can eat the eggs after! 🐣✨ 
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🌿 William Morris Day 20 🌿 William Morris fact of the day; did you know he founded the Kelmscott Press? 🖋️ He wrote of the venture – “Here is a new craft to conquer and to perfect.” Printing began at the press in Spring 1891 🪴 He designed multiple fonts including “Golden” Roman typeface and “Troy” Gothic type along with “Chaucer” and he worked to create beautiful books in regards to their designs which took into account their type, image and decorative elements – you can see beautiful examples of what he achieved today if you do a quick search on the Kelmscott Press- it’s well worth a Google! 🌷
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🌷 William Morris Month Day 19🌷 Happy first day of spring everyone! 🪴 We celebrated in our favourite way; coffee and cake of course! 🍰 Now we love florals all year round of course, but especially love adding in even more this time of year to reflect the blooms in the garden 🌷 What’s your favourite Morris design this time of year? 🌿
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📝 William Morris Month Day 18 📝 Did you know that as well as being an incredible designer, William Morris was also a brilliant writer and poet; have you read any of his writing? What’s your favourite quote? 🌷🌿
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☀️ William Morris Month Day 17 ☀️ The sunshine today has made us feel so excited for spring, it’s almost officially here! 🪴 This William Morris bunting is the dreamiest backdrop to all the spring summer days in the garden, it’s by @ellejoycreations - isn’t it fabulous!🌷
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🐰 William Morris Month Day 16 🐰 A Sunday spent Easter decorating, these cute little bunnies were a craft a few years back and they are always a firm favourite to bring out this time of year to hang on our Easter tree 🐥 Have you started decorating or eating eggs yet? 🐣
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🍓 William Morris Month Day 15 🍓 Absolutely can’t wait for the summer months to get our Strawberry Thief picnic basket and blanket back out- if you missed this craft we have a DIY on our website blog, along with a lot of other craft ideas and how-to blogs ☺️
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