William Morris, William De Morgan, Morris & Co.: Tile in the English Arts and Crafts Tradition

William Morris Tile: Tile Sets, Panels, and Murals Based on the Designs of William Morris, William De Morgan, and Morris & Co.

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William Morris Designs from Tiles, Tales, Textiles

Tiles in the English Arts and Crafts Tradition

Framed William Morris textile patterns on tile.  Top: Columbine, DeMorgan Fish, William Morris Red House Garden Tile, Nine Patch Blue Foliage.
					Bottom: Strawberry Thief, Beauty and the Beast, Brother Rabbit, The Hunt for the Unicorn

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Top: Columbine, DeMorgan Fish, William Morris Red House Garden Tile, Nine Patch Blue Foliage.
Bottom: Strawberry Thief, Beauty and the Beast, Brother Rabbit, The Hunt for the Unicorn

Morris's Quandary

Art is the most spiritual and the most revolutionary of enterprises. Morris's quandary was this: He espoused medieval craftsman values and at the same time, long before his socialist years, sought to improve the quality of life and make art available for all people. He improved upon the medieval tilemaking process, developing better methods and dyes, while providing a good wage and exemplary working conditions for his time. We've improved on his methods further with advances of our time, but the values endure. Each tile is created individually, handled individually with attention and care. We make:

We don't stock anything, except overruns and some samples. We make each tile for you. We think Morris would approve.

Tiles from Textiles: Morris & Co. Designs

Not true reproduction tiles, these designs are based William Morris wallpaper, tapestries, and stained glass. Some are William De Morgan designs after leaving Morris & Co.

These tiles are adaptations of stained glass, textile, tapestry, and wallpaper designs. The ceramic and porcelain tiles are truer to the original Morris design. The marble tiles focus on a design element while allowing the natural beauty of the stone to come through.

William Morris Wallpaper and Embroidery

These tiles are adaptations of stained glass, textile, tapestry, and wallpaper designs. The ceramic and porcelain tiles are truer to the original Morris design. The marble tiles focus on a design element while allowing the natural beauty of the stone to come through.

From top left: Medway, Willow, Brother Rabbit, Yellow Peony, Golden Lily, Bird and Trellis, Lodden, May Morris Flower Pot

See many more patterns and color variations

MedwayWillow Brother Rabbit Yellow Peony Golden Lily Bird and Trellis Morris Lodden in blue and white May Morris Flowerpot Tile

'The Forest' Tapestry Animals and Fireplace Surround, Backsplash Garden Mural

William Morris, The Forest William Morris, The Forest

William Morris Forest Tile and Forest Animals

William Morris, Morris & Co. Reproduction Tile

English Arts and Crafts Designs by William Morris, Kate Faulkner, William De Morgan and 'Firm' principals

Tile was one of the earliest media that William Morris explored with Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and other members of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. Tiles imported from Holland were painted by Morris himself, as well as others in the Morris & Co. circle. Many of these original tile designs later made their way to implementations in stained glass and textiles. Some examples:

William De Morgan Reproduction Tile

William De Morgan met William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones when he was 24. He became a close friend of both men, initially implementing Morris's designs for Morris & Co. in stained glass and tile. He went on to become one of the chief designers of stained glass and tile for The Firm and eventually took over the tile production for the company. His designs were sold by Morris & Co. for many years.

Early English Arts and Crafts: Red House Designs

Burne-Jones and Morris had already created one-of-a-kind furnture for their shared bachelor lodgings in London, but it was in the decorating of Red House that the Arts and Crafts movement was born. Morris was incredibly in love with the 19-year-old Jane Burden and commissioned his friend, architect Philip Webb, to design Red House as their first married home. Morris oversaw every detail. Finding the furnishings in the shops to be lacking, Morris, Burne-Jones, Rossetti, and friends took up the task of decorating Red House themselves, designing furniture, tapestries, murals, and tile with loving attention to detail. These tiles are based on the decorative arts of Red House:

Mythic and Medieval Themes

Classical mythology, fairy tales, and medieval themes were favorite subjects for William Morris, Burne-Jones, Rossetti and the PreRaphaelites. Morris translated the Icelandic Eddas, built his first married home, Red House, along the Pilgrims Path from Chaucer, and many claim his best work was Defence of Guinevere.

Bestiary Tiles

William DeMorgan Persian dragon Early medieval dragon Aztec Qetzalcoatl dragon eating a man Basilisk

More Bestiary dragons, basilisks, and wyverns

Hunt for the Unicorn Captive Unicorn Lady and the Unicorn: Sight Tile based on the background from the medieval unicorn tapestries

The Unicorn Tapestries

Medieval: Book of Hours of the Duc Du Berry Tile Panels

I did these 15-tile murals for the World Food Prize Foundation. These photographs are in the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in Des Moines, Iowa.

Book of Hours tile mural at World Food Price Foundation

Book of Hours: Les Très Riches Heures

Legends and Fairy Tales

Fairy tales are the myths we live by. Camelot and fairy tale themes were favorites of Morris and his circle. Morris also translated the Icelandic Eddas. William Morris built Red House, his first married home, in a location along the route the pilgrims in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales would have taken.

Edward Burne-Jones: Briar Rose

The Briar Rose fairy tale was an important theme for Edward Burne-Jones, one of Morris's closest and arguably longest friend.

Glasgow Arts and Crafts: Jessie M. King

This mural is based on Jessie M. King's illustration to Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid. It's suitable for a backsplash or shower wall.

Jessie M. King, Little Mermaid, Mermaid backsplash

Jessie M. King Mermaids Backsplash

Preraphaelite Art Tile

Morris and Co. designs often were created for one medium and then adapted and modified for another. Many designs were first implemented as tile and later in stained glass or as paintings on canvas or furniture. In the Days of Creation, The Fourth Day was cut from its frame in a dining room in Dunster House at Harvard University in 1970 where the entire series was on loan from the Fogg Art Museum, and never been recovered. I've recreated it based on Frederick HOllyer's platinotype and Oscar Wilde's description.

May and Jenny Morris

Edward Burne-Jones, Angels of Creation, Seventh Angel

See Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Days of Creation Angels

Recent Additions

Blue and White tiles are on their way. I'm working on blue and whites and will be adding several I've made over the next week. New this morning, is a cobalt blue and white Lodden:

Morris Lodden in blue and white May Morris Flower Pot ceramic tile

I have also added a ceramic version of May Morris's flower pot, as well as a photo of May Morris and some back story.

Visual Index: For a visual index, all, or nearly all, available tiles are pined on the William Morris Tile board.

New tile announcements, tiles in progress, tiles I dream of doing, and other Morris and DeMorgan inspirations are pinned on the general Morris and DeMorgan board.

Current Projects

Membland Fireplace Surround and Backsplash