William Morris Society
DESIGNS FOR LIVING
“ if I were asked to say what is at once the most important productions of art and the thing most to be longed for, I should answer, A Beautiful House.”
Morris moved his home in London to Kelmscott House, the current home of the Society, in 1878.
I visited the William Morris Society for an workshop by Allyson McDermott (wallpaper conservator).
Before the workshop, Helen, the head of the museum collection and the curator of the society showed us some of the important archive wallpapers and Morris & Co. brand catalogs.
Is is agreed by all that A William Morris Interior blends the homely with the heroic, the practical with the romantic, simplicity with beauty. While Morris interiors appear comfortable to the modern eye, they seems stark to his Victorian contemporaries
Promegranate Golden Lily Pimpernel
Trellis Acanthus Madder Indian
Helen, mentions Morris loved nature and his designs always featured naturalistic imagery of birds, flowers and leaves. He had an ideological belief in the value of craftsmanship to bring pleasure in work, and in the integrity of objects. Two of William Morris's best-known wallpapers are Willow Boughs, whose name is pretty self-descriptive, and Fruit, which comes in various background colors and features pomegranates and lemons.
The most consistent champions of Morris's papers were people operating outside of mainstream bourgeois society. Artists in particular appreciated his work. His designs were hung in the London home of Morris's life-long friend, the painter Edward Burne-Jones, and in 1875 were used in decorative schemes throughout 18 Stafford Terrace, a house in London bought by Punch cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne.
Although his papers were too expensive for most people to afford, towards the end of the 19th century Morris's designs began to have a significant influence on the wider market. Other designers and manufacturers began to produce cheaper papers in 'the Morris style', trying to recreate the appeal of his particular vision of organic growth controlled by a subtle geometry.