William Morris Wallpaper


William Morris led the Arts and Crafts movement of the late nineteenth century. William Morris designs for the home include exquisite patterns of wallpaper, many which are still reproduced today to decorate homes.



The Arts and Crafts movement was made up of English designers and writers who started a return to well-made, handcrafted goods as a competition to poor quality machine-made items. William Morris set up his own company with fellow artists called Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co in 1861, which produced everything for interior decorating from furniture and textiles to printed wallpaper and jewelry.


It was in during the 1859-60 period that the William Morris’ need to materialize his ideas stirred him to undertake that which was soon to be his daily industry and delight. This was the design and manufacture by hand of woven fabrics, wallpapers, stained glass and other decorative work, under the firm name of “Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Company.” This firm had in all eight partners, including the three painters, Burne-Jones, Rossetti and F. Madox Brown. Morris contributed a considerable part of the capital, and was director and general manager.


William Morris "Daisy" pattern wallpaper, circa 1860s


The year 1862 is noticeable as the period when William Morris commenced to design his special wallpapers, and his firm, Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co., exhibited these with furniture and tapestries in one class, stained glass windows in another, in the Exhibition of that year. To quote from the life of William Morris by J. W. MacKail: "The first series of Morris Wallpapers, the designing of which went on rapidly for several years culminated in the favourite and beautiful pattern known as the 'Pomegranate.' Beyond it that manner of decorating a surface could not go." These beautiful wallpapers, distinct from anything that had been designed before, were at that time only appreciated by Messrs. Morris's particular clientele, who decorated their homes to suit the Morris furniture and hangings.


Victorian Home Décor

Music Room Library
Music Room Library
Dining Room William Morris Room
Dining Room William Morris Room



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Morris Wallpaper Designs

William Morris Wallpaper   William Morris Wallpaper

William Morris Thistle


William Morris Larkspur


Merton Abbey in Surrey, a simple monastic building, repaired and with modest additions, was the site of the industries associated with Morris’ name. There, surrounded by natural beauty, amid the quiet and seclusion of the country, picked handicraftsmen worked with enthusiasm, their employment contingent only upon good behavior. By giving higher wages than other similar craftsmen, William Morris was able to realize his dreams for art.


William Morris Wallpaper   William Morris Wallpaper

Golden Lily Minor


William Morris Acanthus


Great pains were taken by William Morris personally in the preparation of pure and lasting colors, nothing being spared to that end; some of his vats requiring years to bring their dyes to perfection. William Morris design, bearing the stamp of his strong color sense and sobriety of taste, notwithstanding many imitations are inimitable. Morris was not slow to recognize the immense benefit to the arts in England of the Kensington collections, being particularly interested in the Persian textiles; and he edited a little hand-book of the Industrial Arts, illustrated by examples in the South Kensington Museum. William Morris Victorian wallpaper of the 1870s were peculiarly unique both in coloring and design, the latter from Morris's own hand, the former under his special supervision. The most distinctive were the following designs:


William Morris Wallpaper   William Morris Wallpaper

William Morris Trellis


William Morris Willow


1. William Morris Wallpaper - The Ferns: Groundwork, the tint known as réséda, or olive; the spray of fern thrown carelessly upon it with that perfectly artistic grouping that can only come from the closest study of nature. The ferns were in a lighter shade than the background, but the tracing and fine lines were dark. A lovely paper for a room where one wished to hang pictures, the neutral tint, so soft yet so cool, forming an admirable background. For a finish above and below a picture moulding a shade darker with black lines either side, was charming; with a gilt edge.


William Morris Wallpaper   William Morris Wallpaper

William Morris Apple


William Morris Pomegranate


2. William Morris Wallpaper - The Daisies: There were two styles of this William Morris wallpaper pattern, securing entirely different effects by the use of different tints for the groundwork. The light daisy had a creamy ground, with the faintest suggestion of green— paler than Nile water, unless it were covered with foam. The daisies were in clusters, as might gathered; pale pink, buff, or white, with real daisy leaves, not some nondescript growing from a stalk that could bear cabbages or roses. Each flower was distinctively and truthfully treated in the smallest detail. Among the daisies were a few bluebells and scarlet columbines, as carefully finished as the daisies. The dark daisy had an olive ground, rather deep in tone, heightening the hue of the flowers by contrast, permitting also warmer coloring: at all events, a selection of the brightest daisies the field afforded.


3. William Morris Wallpaper - Pomegranate or Fruit Pattern: The foliage was peculiar, suggesting foreign flavors in the fruit hanging so temptingly within reach—  half grown, wholly grown, ripe, and unripe; here and there one with the rind divided, showing the crimson seeds. This also was repeated on dark and light grounds.


William Morris Wallpaper   William Morris Wallpaper

William Morris Tulip


William Morris Pimpernel


4.William Morris Wallpaper - Rose and Trellis: Narrow bars in tints of brown, four to six inches apart, suggest old-time cottage casements; veritable roses, not woven arbitrarily, one in, one out, ad infinitum, but climbing freely, luxuriantly, as nature might dictate, throwing out sprays and leaves where sprays and leaves made themselves necessary; bright, warm June roses, hanging heavy and sweet, tempting the bluebirds and thrushes that stoop over them for their morning draught. A stray hummingbird or two were among the flutterers. Count the petals of the roses, trace the leaves; they, too, are studies from nature, not offsprings of the artist's fancy.


5. William Morris Wallpaper - Birds and Arabesque: These were in white on a ground of blue, like the heavens in June, not the glittering blue of a frosty winter's day, but the soft, hazy blue that makes all things fresh and fair. This was repeated in gold tracery oil a black or extremely dark ground.


6. William Morris Wallpaper - The Jasmine: Groundwork no tint that can be named, yet it could be seen at times after sunset lying low above the horizon; neither gray nor blue nor green, still less yellow, but with a hint of each, the key-note, after all, being a sea tint.



Walter Crane Wallpaper Designs

Walter Crane was an ornamental designer and decorator and is noted for his Arts and Crafts wallpaper designs. Crane designed many exquisite patterns of wallpaper, some which are still reproduced today to decorate homes. Explore Walter Crane Victorian Designs