'Sunflower' wallpaper

William Morris, Morris & Co., and Jeffrey & Co.designed before 1879, printed before 1940

William Morris Gallery

William Morris Gallery
Walthamstow, London, United Kingdom

This wallpaper incorporates a central sunflower head, with tulips, small flowers and a grape vine. The monochrome colourway and the vine give the design a classical aesthetic. William Morris designed the pattern c.1878 and registered the design on 7 January 1879. The firm produced it in a variety of colourways, mainly in yellow or green hues, and it was one of their cheapest wallpapers making it a best seller. Morris & Co. also produced the design in an oil colour on an embossed, foiled and lacquered gold background, which sold for 6 times the price.

In Morris's lecture 'Making the Best of It' (1880), he sets out his ideas on the most attractive flowers for the garden. Of sunflowers he says "though a latecomer to our gardens, is by no means to be despised, since it will grow anywhere, and is both interesting and beautiful, with its sharply chiselled yellow florets relieved by the quaintly patterned sad-coloured centre clogged with honey and beset with bees and butterflies."


  • Title: 'Sunflower' wallpaper
  • Creator: William Morris, Morris & Co., Jeffrey & Co.
  • Date Created: designed before 1879, printed before 1940
  • Location Created: Islington, London, England
  • Type: wallpaper
  • Physical Dimensions: 1099.8 x 55.9 cm
  • Object Number: B50
  • Medium: block-printed in distemper on paper

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