Wreath 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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Morris put together the designs for this wallpaper, titled Wreath, in 1876. He then partnered with two different companies in order to translate this work into completed wallpapers, ready for sale on the open market.

This innovative artist preferred to deal with businesses that were relatively close to him, so that he could easily check up on their work. Morris did not find it easy to pass control over his work to others, and it took quite some time before he fully trusted third parties such as these. Invariably, William would attempt every stage of the process himself before relinquishing control if he later deemed it too difficult. Due to the large number of mediums in which he was involved, there simply wasn't the time available to master each and every technical process in which his work was involved.

Wreath was considered one of his finest contributions and was placed within the top bracket of wallpaper, in terms of being the most expensive. He covered a variety of tastes and budgets within this medium but the patterns found here were clearly aimed at the upper-middle classes, with others unable to meet this price-point. They were naturally printed in distemper, just as Jeffrey & Co had done with all of the rest of his work. This technique involved water-based colours and were known to produce a thicky chalky finish that he would have supervised during the early days of partnering with this firm.

Wallpaper would prove one of Morris & Co.'s most profitable ventures and some of their designs could also be used across different mediums. Besides this they would also offer furniture, fabrics, textiles and illustrations and impressed with both the quality and variety of their work. No corners were ever cut, and Morris would fiercely defend his processes when criticised by those paying these great commissions. He would never allow his brand to be diluted and even today his career remains highly respected and much loved.