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Vine

  • Object:

    Wallpaper

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1873 (designed)
    1874 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Morris, William, born 1834 - died 1896 (designer)
    Jeffrey & Co. (manufacturer)
    Morris & Co. (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    hand printed in distemper colours by wood block, on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Morris and Company

  • Museum number:

    E.485-1919

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case DW, shelf 5, box 2

William Morris was an English designer, writer and activist. In 1861, Morris founded his own firm, Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co., which became Morris & Co., in 1875. As both a designer and theorist for the arts, his importance cannot be easily overestimated, and his influence continues. This wallpaper is printed in distemper colours on paper. It was printed by the wallpaper manufacturer, Jeffrey & Co. for Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co.

This wallpaper was manufactured in 1873-1874 and seven years afterwards, Morris asked in his publication Some Hints on Pattern Designing, whether it is 'not better to be reminded however simply of the close vine trellises which keep out the sun [...] than having to count day after day a few sham-real boughs and flowers, casting sham-real shadows on your walls, with little hint of anything beyond Covent Garden in them?' This wallpaper is an example of such a 'close vine trellis'. By 1890, Morris & Co.charged £0.40 to £0.50 per roll for 'Vine' wallpaper.

Physical description

Specimen of 'Vine' wallpaper pattern, a foliate design of two types of leaves and grapes; Hand printed in distemper colours by wood block, on paper; Inscribed on the back in ink with title, number and price.
Part of 'Volume 1', a pattern book containing 25 Morris & Co. patterns from 1862-81 (E.441-529-1919).

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1873 (designed)
1874 (published)

Artist/maker

Morris, William, born 1834 - died 1896 (designer)
Jeffrey & Co. (manufacturer)
Morris & Co. (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

hand printed in distemper colours by wood block, on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Inscribed on the back in ink with title, number and price.

Dimensions

Height: 68.5 cm size of volume, Width: 53.3 cm size of volume

Object history note

After publication as an ordinary distemper print, this design was brought out on a gold crape-embossed ground, a material which had earlier appeared in Jeffrey & Co.’s own range. It demonstrates the move into richer wallpaper effects and, at 40s. a roll, was extremely expensive (the ordinary distemper print cost 12s).

Willow, issued in the same year, is a simple pattern derived from the backprint of Vine.

Descriptive line

Specimen of 'Vine' wallpaper pattern, a foliate design of two types of leaves and grapes; Hand printed in distemper colours by wood block, on paper; William Morris; Part of 'Volume 1', a pattern book containing 25 Morris & Co. patterns from 1862-81 (E.441-529-1919); England; First issued 1874.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Oman, Charles C., and Hamilton, Jean. Wallpapers: a history and illustrated catalogue of the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: Sotheby Publications, in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982.
Harvey, Charles and Jon Press. William Morris: Design and Enterprise in Victorian Britain. Manchester University Press, 1991.
Parry, Linda, ed. William Morris London : Philip Wilson in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1996. Published to coincide with an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, 9 May-1 Sept. 1996.
Oman, Charles C., and Hamilton, Jean. Wallpapers: a history and illustrated catalogue of the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: Sotheby Publications, in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982.
Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design & Department of Paintings, Accessions 1919, London: Printed Under the Authority of His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1921

Labels and date

Seven years after this wallpaperwas manufactured Morris asked in his published lecture 'The Lesser Arts' whether it is 'not better to be reminded however simply of the close vine trellises which keep out the sun [...]' 'than having to count day after day a few sham-real boughs and flowers, casting sham-real shadows on your walls, with little hint of anything beyond Covent Garden in them?' This wallpaper is an example of such a vine trellis. []

Production Note

Within pattern book Volume 1 (1862-81).

Materials

Distemper; Paper

Techniques

Colour woodblock print; Block printing

Subjects depicted

Leaves; Grapes; Vine

Categories

Wall coverings

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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