Pimpernel William Morris Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Pimpernel is one of William Morris' most famous designs and can still be purchased as wallpaper today. He completed this stunning pattern in 1876 and much of the original work can now be found in the Morris Collection at the V&A Museum in London.

Morris loved his piece and would eventually hang it in his own dining room at Kelmscott House which can be found in Hammersmith, West London. There have been four colour variants of this pattern, from which people can still choose from today. The available colour schemes are brick/olive, bayleaf/manilla, bullrush/russet and privet/slate. Despite having produced designs such as this over 150 years ago, there is still a great love for the work of the Arts and Crafts Movement as well as a desire to add reproductions of this work for one's own home. It is worth noting that many of the Pimpernel wallpaper being offered today are actually simplified versions of the artist's original work, in order to suit modern tastes and also reduce printing costs. Whilst being responsible for the design, it was Morris & Co. who published this item. They used Jeffrey & Co. to print the final design ready for sale.

The pattern would be put into wooden blocks and then applied to the paper, manually. This traditional method was very much in keeping with the ways in which Morris and his colleagues worked, never seeking to simplify or speed up production techniques if it risked impacting the quality of their work. This was one of the reasons for their impressive reputation that ensured continued commissions over a number of decades. The design itself features a myriad of plants and foliage, typical of Morris. There are pimpernel plants along with smaller yellow flowers in a carefully arranged display which could then be carried across into patterns. The designer's approach was able to be translated across different mediums, helping his company to offer its customers all manner of different options with which to decorate the interiors of their homes. Many of his most popular designs have remained in production right up to the present day, underlining how his style has retained its popularity, particularly within the UK.

The V&A hold a specimen of the original Pimpernel wallpaper which is from a book containing around 25 of their patterns, covering the period of 1862-1881. Morris would become well known to the institution, helping them to expand their textile display by acquiring items directly from his own suggestions. He now enjoys a room there which is dedicated to his career, and also explains his own role working alongside the museum at times in the 19th century. They also release impressive publications on his career from time to time and have the necessary resources to uncover new information on his life even today, more than a century later. The public continue to appreciate his clear, iconic artistic style and so the collection dedicated to his life continues to attract visitors to the V&A from all around the world.