WM in Wimbledon / by Sasha Ward

Although I like to imagine William Morris walking through Wimbledon when he went from his house in Hammersmith to his works at Merton Park by foot, that is not really the subject of this piece.

In the background of my parents' lives and my childhood in Wimbledon were William Morris designs. The earliest one I remember is Marigold in olive green on the sitting room walls, it looked very good with the tartan sofa the great aunts are sitting on (below) and with my tartan dress. When I saw the Marigold design used on the cover of Volume II of WM's Collected Letters last year, the memory made me shiver.

Dagmar, Clara and Norah (the great aunts)                                                   Sasha - Marigold wallpaper designed by WM, 1875

Dagmar, Clara and Norah (the great aunts)                                                   Sasha - Marigold wallpaper designed by WM, 1875

The photograph below of my mother's best friend Inge and a dog visiting her top floor flat in Wimbledon for tea is quite a recent one. It would be fantastic even without Pimpernel on the sloping wall - this wallpaper has lasted for as many years as I can remember.

Dog and Inge - Pimpernel wallpaper designed by WM, 1876

Dog and Inge - Pimpernel wallpaper designed by WM, 1876

Chrysanthemum, seen on the chair below, is not such a favourite of mine. Maybe it's because the fabric on this chair deteriorated over the years, ending up completely hidden by shawls and cushions covered in oriental patterns. Shoving lots of different patterns together is something I am quite used to.

Ray and Kate - Chrysanthemum fabric designed by WM, 1877

Ray and Kate - Chrysanthemum fabric designed by WM, 1877

I found countless pictures of family members around the dining room table with the Golden Lily curtains in the background. When I brought home my college stained glass panel "Dual Carriageway" in 1985 (below right), where better to put it than next to another set of rich, clashing patterns. The stained glass remained, then moved house with my mother, but the curtains soon went and were turned into drapes for other armchairs.

Peter, Elizabeth, Kate - Golden Lily fabric designed by J.H. Dearle for Morris and Company, 1899

Peter, Elizabeth, Kate - Golden Lily fabric designed by J.H. Dearle for Morris and Company, 1899