William Morris, wallpaper design, Acanthus, 1874
This is an original design made by Morris in the process of working out the repeat and the colouring for the ‘Acanthus’ wallpaper which was produced in 1875. It is a working drawing, on the same scale as the finished wallpaper, but it does not show the whole pattern. It was intended as a guide for the printer to use when matching the colours. Pencil notes with instructions and questions about the colours have been added to the drawing by the printer.
‘Acanthus’ was the first wallpaper in a group of large-scale heavy patterns printed in darker colours. These designs were more sophisticated than the earlier papers, and Morris successfully disguised the underlying geometric structure of the repeat. Some of the features of the drawing, such as the white highlights on the scrolling leaf at the top, were left out of the printed version of the pattern. Source V&A