27th August 2018
Our collection of licensed William Morris designs just keeps growing; we’ve now got quite the range! With various colour palates and designs, we wanted to do a roundup on just a few of our designs and the history and stories behind them – this blog is part one of two! With each design, there’s always being a story of it’s design; the influences and inspiration. We do multiple products in each design as well as selling the fabric by the half metre in a variety of fabrics (cotton, cotton drill, heavyweight and pvc) for anyone crafty, there’s so much you can create from our William Morris fabric; from small projects to large.
Designed by 1864 by William Morris, Trellis was inspired by the rose trellis found in the garden of his home, Red House. Most of his designs are inspired by nature and Trellis is no different. The first wallpaper he ever created, the birds within the design were drawn by his friend and colleague, Philip Webb.
Along with our Trellis products, we also have a few that also showcase a picture of Morris along with his most famous quote, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
We produce Strawberry Thief, designed in 1883 in two colour ways; red and blue – we can never quite decide on our favourite!
There’s a lovely story behind this design; once again inspired by nature, it was as Morris sat on the privy that he watched the birds steal the strawberries in his garden from under the fruit nets at his home, Kelmscott Manor. May Morris described this wonderfully when she said, “You can imagine my father going out in the early morning and watching the rascally thrushes at work on the fruit beds and telling the fanned who growls, ‘I’d like to wring their necks!’ that no bird in the garden must be touched. There were certainly more birds than strawberries in spite of attempts at protection. And the walls of the little dining-room are hung with this note of the June garden and the little lords of it.” We love the description and more of an insight into their daily life at Kelmscott Manor, Morris’ paradise.
Strawberry Thief was also a triumph for Morris as it was the first design he perfected using his pioneering indigo-dye technique of printing at Merton Abbey.
First designed in 1887, we have Willow Bough in both blue and white and green and cream. This is a stunning patterns with soft willow leaves throughout, it really feels bright and light, bringing nature indoors.
May Morris also spoke about this design, “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.” Block printed when it was adapted for fabric in Merton Abbey, May Morris even used Willow Bough as her wallpaper design.
Pimpernel is a wonderful design, an incredibly famous one for Morris. Designed in 1876, though there are pimpernel flowers within the design, they’re smaller than the large poppies that dominate the design. Today it remains as the wallpaper adorning the walls of the Billiard Room in Wightwick Manor. Again with a naturalistic influence, the repeating pattern is typical of his work. In two colour ways; Pimpernel Cream and Pimpernel Green.
There’s too many designs to fit into one blog! Make sure to read part two here to learn more about our William Morris designs. It’s incredible to think how long ago his designs were created and the pioneering methods of print he used to create them. Nowadays, his designs are still incredibly popular and influential; interior designers still use his name and designs as examples and his designs are everywhere; even on the runways such as Marc Jacobs. We still print all our fabric in the United Kingdom and all our products are licensed William Morris designs; printed both size and colour ways to our own specification to best suit our designs.