William Morris designed 'Fruit' (also referred to as 'Pomegranate') in 1862. It is one of his earliest designs for wallpaper. The pattern is formed of pomegranates, oranges and lemons surrounded by foliage and flowers. The original design is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (E.299-2009) and includes olive branches, which were removed in the finished wallpaper.
Morris first tried printing wallpaper at his studio in Red Lion Square in oil colours from etched zinc blocks. Unsuccessful, he ordered traditional pearwood printing blocks to be cut for 'Fruit' and production was then subcontracted out to Jeffrey & Co. of Islington, which specialised in the production of hand-printed wallpapers. They continued to print the firm's wallpapers even after Morris set up his own factory at Merton Abbey in 1881.
This version is stamped on the right edge 'MORRIS & Co' and has the pattern colourway number 'Fruit 6' in blue crayon on the reverse. The wallpaper was also available in a cream colourway. It was purchased from Morris & Co. when the firm closed in 1940.