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‘How We Might Live’ Features Morris & Co. Wallpaper Sample

July’s Featured Object of the Month

How We Might Live: The Vision of William Morris, an exhibit highlighting the life and work of English designer and author William Morris (1834-1896), will showcase a new Morris-related item every month.


Visit the Maryland Room Gallery in July to view a sample of Morris & Co. wallpaper, featuring Morris’s ‘Fruit’ pattern, sometimes referred to as ‘Pomegranate’, designed by William Morris and produced by Morris & Co. starting in 1866.  This pattern is characteristic of Morris’s use of nature in his decorative designs.  Many of his wallpaper and fabric designs were based on plants he observed in his garden or on walks through the English countryside.  ‘Fruit’ features peaches, oranges, lemons and pomegranates set against a blue backdrop.

‘Fruit’ wallpaper was used in both the dining room and morning room of Morris’s beloved Kelmscott House at 26 Upper Mall, Hammersmith, where he lived from 1879 until his death in 1896.  A small roll of this original wallpaper, from which this sample is taken, was discovered in the summer of 1966 .

“I cannot allow that it is good for any hour of the day to be wholly stripped of life and beauty; therefore we must provide ourselves with lesser (I will not say worse) art with which to surround our common workaday or restful times; and for those times, I think, it will be enough for us to clothe our daily and domestic walls with ornament that reminds us of the outward face of the earth, of the innocent love of animals, or of man passing his days between work and rest as he does” -William Morris, Some Hints on Pattern-Designing, 1881

Do you find yourself inspired by Morris’s designs? You are in luck, ‘Fruit’ wallpaper is still being sold by Morris & Co. today.  Not bad for a design that is nearly 150 years old!

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About hornbakelibrary

Special Collections and University Archives, located in Hornbake Library North at the University of Maryland, serves as a gateway to many valuable resources, including state of Maryland and historical collections, university archives, literature and rare books, mass media and culture collections, and labor history collections. For information, call us at 301-405-9212 or visit http://www.lib.umd.edu/special/home.

One comment on “‘How We Might Live’ Features Morris & Co. Wallpaper Sample

  1. Best “Free Wallpapers” at http://bit.ly/IiWolY

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