Hard at work in his Queen’s Square workshop, William Morris crafted this now iconic fruit motif. The 1864 design, with its twisting, diagonal stems of fruit and flowers, evokes the symbolism of the Mediterranean. Adored by England’s creative elite, this formidable design provided the backdrop to many a Pre-Raphaelite gathering, marking the spirit of fellowship between artistic friends and collaborators.
Recoloured in the Archive studio, this enchanting wallpaper adds new life to one of Morris & Co.'s most famous designs. Also known as Pomegranate, this diagonal design of speckled lemons and seeded pods is one of Morris & Co’s. earliest wallpaper designs, first produced by hand-block wallpaper printer Jeffrey & Co. in Islington in 1864. The design graced the walls of at Morris’s own home in Hammersmith as well as The Grange in Fulham, the house lived in by Morris’s life-long friend Edward Burne-Jones.
Today, the design’s fruit and flowers retain their appeal, evoking the symbolism of “golden cups of oranges, hung amid groves of pointed cypress trees” in Morris’s description of the mythical Garden of the Hesperides. The enchanted theme of this early Morris wallpaper and a design featuring similarly twining stems and pomegranates can be found on the walls of the famous Green Dining Room, hand-painted by William Morris, Philip Webb and Edward Burne-Jones in 1866 for the South Kensington Museum. In c.1957 Arthur Sanderson & Sons re-introduced William Morris’s original designs into its hand-printed collections, though Fruit remained available only as a special order for many years. In the 1990s the design was included as part of the highly covetable ‘Morris & Co. hand-printed’ green book collection. Since 2011 it has been available as part of the Morris & Co. Archive Collection.