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Design for wallpaper - Swan, Rush and Iris
  • Swan, Rush and Iris
    Crane, Walter R.W.S., born 1845 - died 1915
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Swan, Rush and Iris

  • Object:

    Design for wallpaper

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1875 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Crane, Walter R.W.S., born 1845 - died 1915 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Body colour on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Margaret Warner

  • Museum number:

    E.17-1945

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level D, case LD, shelf 39

Object Type
This is one of Walter Crane's earliest designs for wallpaper, created in 1875. The black outlines and solid blocks of colour of this design suggest a study of Greek vase painting. A slightly amended version of this design was produced as a wallpaper two years later by Jeffrey & Co.

People
Walter Crane (1845-1915) was the first President of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society. He excelled in flat pattern design and worked for many different manufacturers. He began designing wallpapers in 1874, after his name was suggested to Metford Warner, the director of Jeffrey & Co., by the designer, Bruce Talbert. He subsequently became one of Jeffrey & Co.'s most important designers.

Design & Designing
Walter Crane developed his figurative style through illustrating books, for which he was most famous. In his illustrated children's books of the 1870s, the clever drawings and brilliant colour sense made his work popular with children and adults alike, and they are still in print 130 years later. Typically, Crane's wallpaper designs were figurative, and often narrative, drawing on Greek myth, fairy tales and nursery rhymes. This design has a formality based on heraldic design combined with a naturalistic and pictorial theme. It is typical of Crane's style in the 1870s.

Physical description

Design for 'Swan, Rush and Iris' wallpaper dado (E.5124, 5125-1919), silhouetted swans against a stylised background of rush and iris, suggesting the influence of Greek vase paintings; Body colour on paper; Signed with the artist's emblem.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1875 (painted)

Artist/maker

Crane, Walter R.W.S., born 1845 - died 1915 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Body colour on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Signed with the artist's emblem

Dimensions

Height: 53.1 cm, Width: 53 cm

Object history note

Exhibited Art Nouveau in Britain, Arts Council, 1965, no 27.

Descriptive line

Design for 'Swan, Rush and Iris' wallpaper dado (E.5124, 5125-1919), silhouetted swans against a stylised background of rush and iris, suggesting the influence of Greek vase paintings; Designed by Walter Crane; Body colour on paper; Signed with the artist's emblem; England; 1875.

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

Greenhalgh, Paul Ed., Art Nouveau : 1890 - 1914. London: V&A Publications, 2000. 464 p., 8.10pl, ill. ISBN 1851772774
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 and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1945, London: HMSO, 1956.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Walter Crane was the first president of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society. He developed his figurative style through illustrating books. He was a prolific commercial designer and worked for many different manufacturers. [27/03/2003]

Materials

Paper; Body colour

Techniques

Painting

Subjects depicted

Iris; Swan (animal)

Categories

Paintings; Designs; Wall coverings

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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