Willow Bough wallpaper has been used to decorate the entire staircase at Emery Walker’s House, its colour complemented by the greens of the paint and the stair carpet. Like Morris & Co.’s other papers it, was block-printed in distemper colours and printed by Jeffrey & Co. in their workshops in Islington, north London. The version on the staircase had been patched in places over the years with later printings of the paper, which remains in production. . Like the other Morris papers in the house, it was probably hung when Walker decorated the house following his acquisition of the freehold of 7 Hammersmith Terrace in 1924. The willow was one of Morris's favourite motifs and he used it in several of his designs for wallpaper and textiles. Designed in 1887, Willow Bough is a more naturalistic version of his earlier pattern called Willow (1874). The stems and small branches are brown or a darker green than the leaves, whose veins are marked with parallel lines rather than the more botanically accurate portrayal found in Willow. Morris’s wallpaper designs were inspired by wild flowers and trees which he had seen on country walks. He also found ideas for his designs in the simple woodcut illustrations in 16th-century herbals. These books described plants and their various medicinal and culinary uses. Morris owned a copy of Gerard's Herball (published 1597) in which a willow branch is illustrated.

Record ID:03936