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Celebrating William Morris, 1834-1896

William Morris’s oft-quoted philosophy: “Have nothing in your house which you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful,” is relevant in any era.

William Morris Daisy at Color Wheel in McLean
William Morris Arbutus at Color Wheel in McLean
William Morris Brer Rabbit at Color Wheel in McLean

You may be familiar with many of Morris and Company’s iconic patterns, yet may not realize that these designs are over 100 years old, and drew inspiration from floral tapestries of the 14th century!

Widely considered the father of the Arts and Crafts movement, Morris and his partners believed that a designer should have a working knowledge of any media used in his products. To that end, Morris painted, built furniture, wove tapestries, wrote, illustrated, and operated his own printing press. 

The movement, in reaction to the Industrial Revolution, revered traditional skills and creativity. Pre-Raphaelite artists Burne-Jones and Rossetti, architect/designer C.F.A. Voysey and illustrator Walter Crane all contributed to early Morris & Co. collections.  

Morris and Company wallpaper and fabrics continue to be produced today. Some patterns have been altered in scale and color to reflect modern tastes, but the designs themselves are timeless. Come into Color Wheel and see which timeless classic might enhance your home décor.

Shown above, left to right: 'Daisy' by William Morris was the first wallpaper to be printed by Morris & Co. in 1864 and displays an unusually flat arrangement of naively drawn wild daisies on tufts of grass.

'Arbutus' by William Morris was designed by Kathleen Kersey a member of the Morris & Co. design studio on the eve of the First World War in 1913.

'Brer Rabbit'  by William Morris was inspired by a 17th century Italian silk from 1882 and named after the Uncle Remus children's books popular at the time.