Friday, June 24, 2011

Ahead of His Time

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." —William Morris (1834-1896)

Portrait of William Morris
by George Frederic Watts,
via Wikimedia Commons
I've been aware of influential 19th century English designer William Morris for years, but only came across the quote above sometime last year. It perfectly describes what I've been actively trying to live.

Then the other day, while browsing the aisles of Barnes & Noble, I came across this beautiful book. The store was about to close, so I only had time to flip through it briefly, but I knew had to know more about this fascinating man.

A true renaissance man, Morris was also a trained architect, a writer of poetry and prose, and an early socialist. But what he's remembered for most are the textiles and more than 50 wallpapers he designed. His nature-inspired creations still look fresh and modern today.

This vivid large-scale wallpaper was created for St. James's Palace:
William Morris, via Wikimedia Commons
His Acanthus design dates from 1875:
William Morris, via Wikimedia Commons

I'd love this pattern in my dining room:
By William Morris and Co., via Wikimedia Commons
And I would die for curtains made from his Kennet pattern:
William Morris, via Wikimedia Commons
Morris' designs and motifs inspired by his work are still available today.

What do you think--would his work look right at home in a Pottery Barn catalog? Do you have a favorite pattern?

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