New William Morris Society Exhibition on Art of Wallpaper

Displays feature designs from the Sanderson Design Group archive

Displays at the exhibition (left) and Flowers and Rococo Scrolls, c. 1850, William Woollams and Co. (right)
Displays at the exhibition (left) and Flowers and Rococo Scrolls, c. 1850, William Woollams and Co. (right)

April 3, 2024

A new exhibition on the art of wallpaper has opened at the Coach House, Kelmscott House on Upper Mall hosted by The William Morris Society.

Featuring designs on loan from Sanderson Design Group, The Art of Wallpaper: Morris & Co. in Context runs until 11 August.

Sanderson was the owner of Morris & Co and responsible for the manufacture of many of the designs that were so popular in Victorian homes. The company recently announced that it was moving its archive and its design function back to its original home in Voysey House in Chiswick

The exhibition features a range of wallpapers from Sanderson's own archive, which are rarely on public display, to chart the development of wallpaper design in the 19th century and its remaining legacy today.

Hammersmith resident William Morris (1834-1896) was a Victorian poet, craftsman, socialist, and one of the world’s most successful pattern designers. The Art of Wallpaper features many wallpapers he designed for his company Morris & Co. and explores his design legacy. Early 19th century French wallpapers are contextualised with Islamic inspired designs of the reform movement prompting Morris’s own response and contribution to interior design trends of the time.

Originally curated by Mary Schoeser for Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh, this exhibition looks at the work of William Morris in a new light, placing his wallpaper designs within the context of the radical changes in taste witnessed during the Victorian era. Morris’s distinctive patterning is set against a backdrop of the fanciful, naturalistic patterns that typified the fashionable English and French papers of his youth.

Kelmscott House in Hammersmith. Picture: Google Streetview

The Coach House is at Kelmscott House, 26 Upper Mall, Hammersmith (W6 9TA) and the exhibition is open Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 2 – 5pm. Admission is free and all are welcome.

The William Morris Society exists to make better known the life, work and ideas of William Morris, designer, craftsman, poet and socialist. The Society’s premises are in the Coach House and basement of Kelmscott House, Morris’s Hammersmith home for the last 18 years of his life.

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