Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Home Beautiful: The William Morris "Fruit" Wallpaper, 1862

Sketch for Fruit Wallpaper
William Morris, 1862
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Designer and famous socialist William Morris (1834-1896) is known for his handsome designs and patterns. His style developed over the decades. Here’s a look at an early wallpaper pattern which is known both as “Fruit” and “Pomegranate” and dates from around 1862.

Morris used visual motifs from his medieval-style tapestry work, relying on the historical look which his earlier work shared with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. We see, however, the awakenings of Morris’ interest in naturalism and plants.

This sketch varies from the finished wallpaper. The olives were replaced with peaches in the finished product. Morris deemed the olives too delicate and difficult to see. The pattern forms the basis for the original wallpaper which was used for the V&A's Green Dining Room, circa 1866—now long gone.

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