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William Morris: Reinventing Heritage Design

When you think of heritage properties and interior design, it’s hard not to imagine a William Morris pattern adorning the walls or furniture. It’s almost the first thing that springs to mind. The most renowned designer of the 19th century, William Morris’s textile and wallpaper designs have become synonymous with Victorian interior design and are frequently seen in period restoration and renovation projects. But what happens when someone decides to modernise a classic? Last month, Morris & Co owner, Style Library, revealed that they had taken the unprecedented step to change things up; to rework and modernise some of Morris & Co’s traditional designs.

Copyright: Emery Walker Trust

A British Institution

It’s a huge responsibility to take a popular classic and modernise it for future generations. Purists will say that the reason Morris’s style became so prevalent was down to the hues of the organic dyes which enhanced the natural subject matter. The idea that someone would take a 1960’s inspired palette and combine it with some of William Morris’s most famous designs must have sent a shudder down many an oak panelled hallway!

So, earlier this year, when interior designer Ben Pentreath was commissioned to use his talents to revamp a selection of William Morris Patterns, he knew it would have to be done with sensitivity. If you’re responsible for one of the world’s most recognisable design brands and a British institution like Morris & Co, you’d be crazy to put it in the hands of a novice or maverick. Style Library chose well. Ben Penreath is a die-hard William Morris fan. He believes he’s used a William Morris pattern in almost every interior design project he’s worked on. He’d also already started experimenting with Morris & Co’s traditional patterns by over-dying fabrics in turquoise blues and caramel orange.

Wanting to remain as true to the history of the brand as possible, Penreath took to the Morris & Co archive for inspiration. He found a book produced by Sanderson in the 1960s, showing recoloured examples of Morris & Co patterns which proved his theory that contemporary colours could work yet still remain sympathetic to the original William Morris designs.

The Queen Square Collection

The new collection, named Queen Square after Morris’s workshop and home in London, comprises of 14 reworked Morris & Co styles, across both fabrics and wallpapers. Ironically, Ben Penreath and his husband live a stone’s throw away from the original workshop, making it even more of a passion project.

Some of the most famous William Morris patterns reworked include Willow Bough, Blackthorn and Honeysuckle but some lesser known styles find their feet in the new collection. Daffodil has been given a new lease of life with a colour palette which invigorates the scaled down pattern. The updated Chrysanthemum design takes its influence from Japanese printed silks in coral and turquoise.

You can view the full collection of revamped William Morris patterns here on the Style Library website.

Are you a lover or a hater? Let us know what you think!

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Course Timeline

3rd September to 20th January

Introduction Week

Course Introduction

2 hour Live Online Introduction Session
Tuesday, 3rd September @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

Week 1

Unit 01: Fabric Selection & Colour Theory

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 10th September @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 13th September @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

Week 2

Unit 02: Estimation for Soft Furnishings

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 17th September @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 20th September @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

Week 3

Independent Study Break Week

Commencing Monday, 23rd September

Week 4

Unit 03: Window Treatments: Mitres, Hand-Stitching Techniques & Pattern Matching

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 1st October @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 4th October @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

Week 5

Unit 04: Lined & Interlined Curtain Construction

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 8th October @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 11th October @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

Week 6

Independent Study Break Week

Commencing Monday, 14th October

Week 7

Unit 05: Constructing Hand-Sewn Buckram Headers

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 22nd October @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 25th October @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

Week 8

Unit 06: Constructing Piped Crescent Tie-Back & Piped Cushion

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 29th October @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 1st November @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

Week 9

Independent Study Break Week

Commencing Monday, 4th November

Week 10

Unit 07: Constructing a Roman Blind

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 12th November @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 15th November @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

Week 11

Independent Study Break Week

Commencing Monday, 18th November

Week 12

Unit 08: Constructing Padded Pelmets

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 26th November @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 29th November @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

Week 13

Unit 09: Constructing Swags & Tails (Swags)

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 3rd December @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 6th December @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

Week 14

Unit 09: Constructing Swags & Tails (Tails)

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 10th December @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 13th December @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

Week 15

Unit 10: Setting-up a Curtain Making & Soft Furnishings Workroom

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 17th December @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
*Thursday, 19th December @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)
*One day early due to office closure

Christmas Holidays

NDA Office Closed

20th December - 6th January

Week 16 & 17

Independent Study Break Week x2

Commencing Monday, 6th & 13th January

Week 18

Project hand-in

Monday, 20th January 2025

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