William Morris – A History
The Legacy of William Morris
William Morris died in 1896. The firm, Morris & Co., continued until 1905 when it was renamed Morris & Co. Decorators Ltd. Success continued through 1925 with yet another name change: Morris & Company Art Workers Ltd. With the onslaught of the Depression, business declined and the “Firm” was liquidated in 1940. At that time Arthur Sanderson & Sons Limited acquired Morris’ original wallpaper printing blocks from Jeffrey and Co. who had printed wallpapers for Morris & Co.
In all, William Morris and the designers who worked with him designed an amazing range of wallpapers, fabrics and other textiles and products like carpets, tiles, tapestries, linoleum, embroideries, stained-glass windows, commissions for stenciling, and designs for entire interiors.
There are at least 93 known wallpaper designs and over 143 repeating fabric designs by William Morris and the other designers who worked for Morris & Co.
Morris’ designs are now out of copyright, being 75 years after the death of the original designer.
Today, many of the original Morris & Co. designs, in both wallpaper and fabric, are being reproduced. A few manufacturers print his designs.
Many of William Morris’ designs have been in continuous production for over 130 years, which speaks to their enduring appeal. His designs were at the forefront of the development of the Arts & Crafts movement in England, and are just as appropriate to today’s restoration or construction of Arts & Crafts style homes in North America.
Comfortable in houses of any age, the enduring beauty of William Morris’ designs can be enjoyed in your own home today.