William Morris printed by hand his early textile designs in the 1880s by reviving the old and notoriously difficult indigo discharge print method. Produced at his Merton Abbey workshops in South London, William Morris favoured natural dyes which faded evenly and aged beautifully. Today, the Morris & Co. archive provides an inexhaustible resource of patterns from which the studio creates authentic reproductions, or may re-scale and re-colour, evolving the designs to appeal to the contemporary context of the 21st century. Working with the experienced and dedicated team of printers at the William Morris mill in Lancaster, the studio strives to capture the character and appearance of the block printed originals. Aspects of William Morris’ life and work also provide the stimulus for new fabric designs which are painted in the studio and exquisitely translated into print or embroidery.
Morris & Co. fabrics come in a wide choice from woven tapestry and jacquard qualities, printed linens and prints, all-over silk embroideries and classic cotton damasks, through to lightweight pretty leaf trails and semi-plains.
Drawing on William Morris’ values of craftsmanship and expertly executed patterns, the William Morris Pure collection is one of pure simplicity, pure sophistication and PURE MORRIS. The collection includes nine exquisite fabrics, mostly inspired by monochromatic wallpapers from the archive and perfect for creating dreamy and ethereal ‘escape from it all’ rooms. Experimenting with a variety of print, weave and embroidery techniques, these fabrics are enchantingly beautiful and are equally at home in a modern conceptual space, or a classical setting. William Morris created rooms with honesty and simplicity. By harnessing this spirit PURE MORRIS presents his iconic designs in a pared back, neutral palette, whilst maintaining the intricacies and integrity of the originals.
All of William Morris’ fabrics become classics at one point or another in the interior decoration, notable amongst them, Acanthus is one of Morris’ most iconic patterns and has been reproduced in many forms since it was first registered in 1875. Now available as a robust tapestry weave in three stunning colourways and suitable for upholstery. Larkspur is an elaborate design woven in chenille with a winding vertical stem of swirling fern leaves around small groups of flowers. Artichoke was taken from a J.H. Dearle wallpaper of 1898 is recreated in a bold multicoloured woven fabric with swirling tendrils in a symmetrical artichoke pattern. Peacock & Dragon was designed by Morris in 1878 and originally manufactured in wool twill on handlooms at the Queens Square workshops and later at Merton Abbey. Once imposing and now reduced in scale Peacock & Dragon is available as a wool jacquard. Timeless Willow Bough now available as a fine jacquard weave in four colours to co-ordinate across the collections. Originally an indigo discharge printed fabric Strawberry Thief has now been reproduced on 100% cotton with subtle textures to retain the look of the original hand-print.
Many of William Morris’s best known designs have been updated through variation of scale and vivacious colouring. Distinct vibrant teals, rich cranberries and soft golds have been taken from the palette for which Morris was famously known, and have come full circle to feature in the most contemporary interior.
Taking inspiration from some of Morris’s best known motifs, natural forms are drawn with boldness of hand, but given flowing composition. The result is a rich and usable collection, whether used lavishly in the most traditional of homes or scattered across a more modern space.
The latest collections by the Pure Morris set of upholstery and curtain fabrics continue the borrowing of truly-loved archive designs that are meticulously reworked to reflect the colours and drama of the Nordic outdoors, inspired by the diaries of William Morris’s 1871 expedition. The Pure Morris North collection presents calming neutrals such as Linen and Cloud Grey are accented by subtle watercolour tones including Faded Sea Pink and the dramatic Black Ink.
All of the patterns are exceptional: for instance, Pure Arbutus embroidery was designed by Kathleen Kersey for Morris & Co. in 1913. Now carefully reworked, an embroidered stem draws the eye across the fabric in a shiny viscose yarn, with the leaves in a matt cotton finish. Finally, the berries have been highlighted with a subtle twisted metallic embroidery. Likewise the Pure Bramble embroidery draws inspiration by Morris’ love of nature. The original Morris Bramble (1879) becomes the canvas for a new and exciting mix of dye and embroidery techniques, with Brambles leaves uniquely created to give a soft outline. The embroidery has been crafted using a variety of yarns, whereas the stem is in a smart viscose yarn accompanied by cotton flowers and berries in a twisted metallic yarn.