Inspiration Monday – Design and Decoration – William Morris, 19th century designer

Hi everyone, I am doing a new series in which I will try to showcase an artist’s work that inspires and inflences me and my work every monday. This week it is about William Morris, the iconic, 19th century British textile designer, poet, novelist, social activist and enviromentalist against industrialisation, associated with the British Arts and Crafts movement. His patterns have become popular recently by the interiors brand Morris and Co.`s association with the clothing label H&M in 2018. His designs are very intricate, stylised representations of natural forms in the floral and bird kingdom. They are made of two kinds of plant species, one large another small intertwining around each other against a complementary background color. The main art element in Design and decoration is ‘line’, unlike that in painting which is ‘tone’. Each motif is outlined and made to stand out against the background, also unlike in painting where the form is forced to recede and go back into space. It is a flat representation with very little 3-d modelling or the the use of the element ‘form’. Some of his leaf motifs remind me of the classical Greek Acanthus leaf, other designs also show him being inflenced by Persian motifs such as in the pomegranate fruit and flowers. There is a lot of movement in his spiral traceries, he remains faithful to nature and his designs are very unique as are the names that he has given to them (Strawberry thief, Peacock and Dragon, Snakeshead, Cabbage and vine). He was also committed to the printing of limited edition illuminated manuscripts and developed a few typefaces of his own. Here are some sketches made by him in pencil and watercolor, you can see how he has developed his tiles , his designs inspire me a lot, hope you too get inspired for your next art project and moved to your creative space:

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