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“We were walking one day by our little stream that runs into the Thames” – May Morris on William Morris’ Willow Bough

18th July 2017

Willow Bough is one of our all time favourite designs from William Morris. Though it’s a relatively new design within the last few years for us to have printed and manufactured into products, we’ve loved it for years. Reading an article last week in the Telegraph newspaper about Morris and how the, “19th century textile titan is inspiring a new generation of designers and Instagram stars,” we realised we’ve not featured it that much lately on the blog (however for more pictures of the design make sure you’re following our Instagram!) 

The design was first licensed in 1887, produced for a wallpaper design before being adapted for fabric in 1895 when it was block printed at Merton Abbey. May Morris loved the wallpaper design so much, she used it to decorate her bedroom. When talking of the design, she obviously had a sentimental attachment to it, “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.”

The wallpaper can now be seen in Jane Morris’ bedroom in Kelmscott Manor if you visit. Kelmscott Manor was the Cotswold home of William Morris and acted as a countryside retreat for his family, friends and colleagues. He signed a joint lease for the property with Dante Gabriel Rosetti, a fellow Pre-Raphaelite artist.

Described by Morris as looking like it had just ‘grown up out of the soil’ it looked so natural in its setting. It’s a house of true craftsmanship, in a setting so unspoilt, in a picturesque village, if you visit you’ll understand why he felt so strongly about this house that it’s such a beautiful home, unaltered since it was built. If you’ve read our past blogs, we’ve referenced Kelmscott many times as it inspired so many of his designs – most of his designs have strong naturalistic elements and so the gardens, meadows and streams provided him strong inspiration throughout his time here until his death in 1896.

Following his death, his wife Jane purchased the house and their daughter May spent much of her adult life here. Both William and Jane and their two daughters, Jenny and May are buried in the nearby St George’s Church, showing how strongly they all felt they belonged here.

 

As well as the design in blue, we also sell this in green and cream – which do you prefer?

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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 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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