The world has gone mad for William Morris!
This year has seen the popularity rise again for William Morris prints, but why? The coronavirus pandemic has seen countries lockdown and we found ourselves confined to our homes, often in cities with little or no outdoor space, we longed for nature. We also had spare time on our hands to decorate and update our homes. From the interior trend 'Granny Chic' to the lifestyle movement 'Cottagecore' the popularity of Victorian-style décor has seen a resurgence. Cottagecore has really taken off in 2021, the pandemic has seen many wanting to reset their lifestyle, moving away from technology and social media back to simpler pleasures like baking, knitting or growing veg.
Cottagecore is basically the life you feel you would live in a cottage in the countryside, away from the city, a simple self-reliance lifestyle. The first thing that pops into mind when you think cottage décor are floral prints, and William Morris is famed with producing some of the finest.
But who was William Morris?
The Early Years
William Morris (24 March 1834 – 3 October 1896) was born into a wealthy family, his father was a financier in London. Schooled at the famous Marlborough College in Wiltshire England, he then went on to study Classics at Oxford University. It was at university that he met Edward Burne-Jones, who would become Morris's life long friend and one of the era's most prominent pre-Raphaelite painters. Together they formed a group know as the 'The Birmingham Set' alongside William Fulford, Richard Watson Dixon, Charles Faulkner and Cornell Price. The Birmingham Set was a forward thinking group of writers and artists, who wanted to move away from mass production occurring at the time due to the industrial revolution, instead promoting traditional quality craftmanship.
The Arts & Crafts Movement
In 1860 Morris now married moved into his new home 'The Red House", disappointed with the furniture and décor on offer he called in the help of his artist friends. Inspired by their collective success in transforming the manor house into a home with custom furniture and wall covering, they decided to set up their own design company: Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. In the late 1980's two commissions helped elevate Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co.'s one being for St James's Palace, London and saw Morris's first move into wallpaper design. Drawing inspiration from nature and an assistance of quality craftmanship his first wallpaper patterns were created and would be the start of Morris's distinctive style.
Morris an idealistic, educated men strongly believed that art should be for everyone and not just the elite. He wanted to produce home décor which moved away from the mass-produced industrialised factory environment and focused on craft and creativity. In the late 19th century the art and crafts movement was formed with Morris taking centre stage.
“I do not want art for a few; any more than education for a few; or freedom for a few. ” -
Morris & Company
In 1875 Morris took sole ownership and Morris & Company was formed. The next decade saw the design and manufacture of wallpapers, printed fabrics, embroidery, and rugs, all in Morris's distinct flora and fauna style. Always a forward thinker, Morris set about selling his home décor in a store in Oxford Street, London, creating and 'all under one roof' shopping experience.
Morris & Co championed Morris's beliefs of quality products, focusing on craftmanship and available to all.
It's hard to believe that almost 150 years on William Morris is still influencing style trends. Famous hotels such as Soho House, London, have used William Morris wallpaper and fabrics for its recent redesign (see right). In an article for 'Better Homes & Gardens' magazine, a beautiful dusky pink William Morris wallpaper was spied on the walls of actor Hilary Duff's bedroom. Duff explains that she chose the paper as it made her feel 'nostalgic'.
Once you know about William Morris's style you will start to see his prints everywhere! There's even a Twitter account devoted to spotting Morris's prints , eagle eyed viewers have spotted wallpaper on the sets of, The Queen’s Gambit, Sex Education, Riverdale, The Undoing, Love & Anarchy, Enola Holmes, My Fair Lady and Phantom Thread.
Wallart.Biz has taken Morris's prints and transformed them in to 16 stunning canvases for your home, framed and ready to hang.
“If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
Shop the William Morris Collection