Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C , Case DW, Shelf 57, Box B

St James's

Wallpaper
1881 (printed and published)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Specimen of 'St James's' wallpaper, a pattern of intertwined foliage and flowers, with a pale-blue ground; Block printed in distemper colours, 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).
read William Morris and wallpaper design During his career, William Morris produced over 50 wallpapers. These designs – many of which feature in the V&A's extensive Morris collection – adopted a naturalistic and very British take on pattern that was both new and quietly radical.
object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
block printed in distemper colours, on paper
Brief Description
Specimen of 'St James's' wallpaper, a pattern of intertwined foliage and flowers, with a pale-blue ground; Block printed in distemper colours, on paper; Designed by William Morris for the Grand Staircase in St James's Palace; Printed by Jeffrey & Co. for Morris & Co.; Part of 'Volume 1', a pattern book containing 25 Morris & Co. patterns from 1862-81 (E.441-529-1919); England; 1881.
Physical Description
Specimen of 'St James's' wallpaper, a pattern of intertwined foliage and flowers, with a pale-blue ground; Block printed in distemper colours, 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).
Dimensions
  • Size of volume height: 68.5cm
  • Size of volume width: 53.3cm
Dimensions from: 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.
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
(Inscribed on the back in ink with title, number and price.)
Credit line
Given by Morris and Co.
Object history
'St James's' was designed for the Grand Staircase in St James's Palace. The decorative scheme for the palace was begun in 1866 and was Morris & Co.'s first secular commission.



'Two widths of paper are needed to complete the pattern horizontally, while the vertical repeat of 119.4 cm requires two blocks to print each colour. Sixty-eight blocks are needed to complete the pattern. The cutting and printing must have been a gigantic task, carried out at speed. Only four months separated the approval of the plan and its completion. The blocks were destroyed in a fire at Jeffrey’s on 22 November 1881. The printing for the Palace was complete by this time but the blocks were recut for future use.'

(Linda Parry, see Bibliographic References)
Production
Within pattern book Volume 1 (1862-81).

This paper was designed for the Throne Room and the Wellington Room in St James's Palace. The decorative scheme for the palace was begun in 1866 and was Morris & Co.'s first secular commission.
Subjects depicted
Associated Objects
Bibliographic References
  • 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.
  • 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
Collection
Accession Number
E.528-1919

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record createdJune 11, 2009
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