William Morris Lily

15th July 2018

Designed by William Morris in 1874, Lily is a beautiful design which incorporates the willow background with lilies and wild flowers. With clusters of lillies, bluebells, daisies and other wild flowers within it with their leaves, the Lily design really brings the English countryside indoors. Obviously one of Morris’ favourite designs, he used the wallpaper to decorate his home in Kelmscott Manor in Lechlade. You can still still see the wallpaper today at the house – preserved after his death in 1896 by May Morris before it was passed on to the Society of Antiquaries.

Kelmscott Manor was first seen by Morris in 1871, which he described as the “loveliest haunt of ancient peace” and actually signed  a joint lease on the property with Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Pre Raphaelite artist, colleague and friend. The draw of the house to Morris was the fact the house was unspoilt and unaltered by any modern trappings or altered architecture. The house looks so natural in its setting that he described it as looking like it had, “grown up out of the soil” with “quaint garrets amongst great timbers of the roof where of old times the tillers and herdsmen slept.” The house and gardens are wonderful to walk in and we can almost hear his words in our head when we walk round the gardens looking at the manor. He was inspired by the house and the gardens especially – seen in his naturalistic designs produced during his time living here, where he lived until his death in 1896. Following his death, his wife Jane purchased the home and their daughter May spent much of her adult life here. If you do visit the home, make sure to walk round the village of Kelmscott – several of the cottages are designed by Philip Webb and Ernest Gibson – renowned Arts & Crafts architects.

From the man who famously said, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful,” it’s quite notable that this was one of the designs he used in his home. Though he used many of his designs throughout his homes, with the wallpapers, curtains and home furnishings, it was actually at the point of decorating his own home, Red House, that he discovered he was unable to find any suitable interior designs that he truly loved. Along with Philip Webb who was his lifelong friend and was working as the architect on the home, along with others began the company Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. which eventually became Morris & Co. Morris’ legendary company.

As with all our licensed William Morris designs, Lily is printed both size and also colour wise to our own specifications which best suit our products. All our products are printed and manufactured in the United Kingdom – all Morris’ work was designed, printed and manufactured in Britain and we want to keep this legacy!