Walter Crane Wallpaper Designs
Walter Crane's illustrations for children's books are magnificent decorations on a small scale; but his gifts as an ornamental designer and decorator are also apparentin his Arts and Crafts wallpaper designs.
Crane designed many exquisite patterns of Victorian wallpaper, some which are still reproduced today to decorate homes. These wall coverings — handsome, dignified, and decorative — still occupy a first place in Victorian style houses where the decorative quality of woodwork and furniture can stand their massive weight, sturdy, vigorous line, and handsome rendering. They do, however, require for the most part, heavy massive woodwork, wainscoting to chair rails, deep toned colors in hangings and upholstery, and decorative chairs of the later periods. Nevertheless, their adaptation to more modern homes can be made with care and thought.
In the 1870s there was a demand for original designs by English decorative artists, who up to this time had never thought of designing wallpaper. Chief among these was Walter Crane, whose first design was a nursery wallpaper for Jeffrey & Co., which was followed the next year by the "Margarete" decoration, exhibited at the Philadelphia Exhibition of 1876. In this the daisy was chosen as the motif of the design in the Chaucerian sense.
"As she that is of floures flour,
Fulfilled of all virtue and honour,
And ever alike fair and fresh of hue."
Crane's design received a special award accompanied with the pronouncement "that it was given for the great excellence and chastity of design connected with exceedingly harmonious colouring, altogether a most artistic exhibit of the large decorative effect which is possible with this material in the hands of a clever designer."