1883 by William Morris
The William Morris Gallery, London
A postcard of William Morris’s creates a viewpoint of his design that invites a closer look; we are given a snapshot and able to concentrate on each exquisite detail individually, without the distraction of multiple repetition. For there is much detail to take in, beginning with the very background itself, which is covered in tiny dots; they create a textured naturalistic backdrop, avoiding the fabrication of ‘unreal’ block colour. Nature is a constant evolution of pattern and these dots are embellished further, as through and round them wind leaves on curling strings, breaking occasionally into bud — a black outlined tulip or star-like flower. On top of this luxurious ever-growing background the protagonists of Morris’s design explode: majestic towers of leaves, evocative of Corinthian capitals; huge flowers heads, dotted in the centre like sunflowers, the petals bright with magenta darkening to deep blue. Movement – life – is constant through these forms: leaves curl outwards, pushed on by those out of which they erupt; a fan of blue bell-like flowers nod their heads as they ecstatically wave from their stalks , the elegant foliage above and beneath bending in juxtaposing green waves.