New Morris and Co and Ben Pentreath collection

It is the launch the interiors world has been waiting for ever since it was first rumoured that such creativity was afoot. I don’t think it would be overcooking it to say that The Queen Square Collection between Morris & Co and architectural design and interior Decorator Ben Pentreath is one of the most exciting interior brand collaborations in recent times. The collection of 18 recoloured William Morris wallpaper and 18 fabric designs has been styled and photographed at Ben’s beautiful and famously ‘grammed Dorset rectory.

Enduring love

The genius of William Morris designs is that they never date and can be used in both contemporary and traditional settings. They continue to delight and reassure us for their stylish homeliness and connection to nature. Now with Ben Pentreath’s vision, the designs are going to not only receive a new audience but I suspect a reacquaintance and falling in love with William Morris designs generally.

Magical Kelmscott Manor, William Morris’ West Oxfordshire home. Photo: Charis White

What is the secret behind Morris’ designs?

To find out what makes Morris’ designs so enduring I spoke to industry expert Jaine McCormack, who was Head of Design at Sanderson, later becoming designer and creative director behind the very successful Guy Goodfellow Collection.  Jaine is now a freelance artist and designer in Oxfordshire:

Jaine McCormack, artist and designer at www.JaineMcCormack.co.uk. Photo by Nicola Schafer.

Back to nature

Jaine says,”It is the subject matter which is overwhelmingly key, taken from the natural world but with a simplicity that hides remarkably clever pattern repeats. These are maybe the secret, just soft enough to be easy on the eye but rigorously geometric underneath.

“This enables the designs to work fabulously well as papers, much harder to do than a fabric repeat where folds and undulations can mask a clumsy repeat.

“The other aspect of the Morris legacy that continues to speak to us is his rejection of automated processes and his love of hand printing, wooden blocks being carved from fruit wood, use of natural dyes and development of indigo printing. All remarkably current again.

“I am so thrilled that Ben Pentreath has been asked to recolour some Morris classics. When I was Head of Design at Sanderson from 1996-2001, we were constantly looking at ways to keep the Morris legacy relevant.

“We printed some of the designs on velvet or on a course linen for example. Recolouring has always been important but always with a nod to the original colour samples still very much in existence in the Sanderson/Morris archive.”

William Morris thread

Even with the vagaries of interior fashion, a thread of William Morris design has woven its way through our homes for the best part of a century. The designs are a favourite with set decorators from television (EastEnders, Berlin Babylon) to film (My Fair Lady, Red Joan – decorated by Tanya Bowd) as well as with interior designers and home makers.

As an 11 year old I sought out a piece of Morris fabric to cover a storage stool our woodwork teacher got us to make at school. Fast forward a few years, I was lucky enough to style an interiors feature for Marie Claire magazine where Morris again became the focus of the set I designed. Then followed a commission to create contemporary rooms for William Morris and Morris & Co by Lucia van Der Post, a book published by the V&A.

Queen Square collection

The Queen Square collection is named after the square in Bloomsbury that housed the first Morris & Co factory and showroom. It also happens to be the area where Ben Pentreath lives when he is in London.

Ben Pentreath with sofa and cushions covered in The Queen Square collection, Morris & Co x Ben Pentreath.

Morris new colours

The amount of new colourways in the new collection depends on the design but just to give you an idea, you can look forward to five in the Willow Bough design: Pink/Leaf Green (as in the swatch below), Sky/Leaf Green, Bitter Chocolate (and this is de-lish, have got my eye on this one), Tomato/Olive and a 1970s-inspired Olive/Turquoise and one new colourway in Blackthorn called Autumn.

Willow Bough 216949 Pink/Leaf Green, Morris & Co x Ben Pentreath

Blog tour of the Queen Square Collection

Without further ado, here is a blog tour of Ben’s beautiful Dorset rectory with some highlights from the new Queen Square Collection launching at Morris & Co on  Tuesday, 15th September 2020:

Ben Pentreath’s Dorset home Photo: Ben Pentreath

The kitchen

Wallpaper: Willow Bough 216951, Morris & Co x Ben Pentreath

The study

Wallpaper: Marigold 216954, Morris & Co x Ben Pentreath

The drawing room

Wallpaper: Willow 216963; sofa Ben’s own; cushions (L-R), Kennet 226856 and Daffodil 226854, Morris & Co x Ben Pentreath
Wallpaper: Willow 216963, Morris & Co x Ben Pentreath
Wallpaper: Willow  Bough 216964, Sofa: Vine 226852, Cushions: Daffodil 226853, Morris & Co x Ben Pentreath
Wallpaper in Cabinet: Poppy 216957; Sofa: Willow Bough 226842; Lampshade: Blackthorn 216962; Cushions: (L-R): Kennet 226856; Books: a selection of Queen’s Square wallpapers. Morris & Co x Ben Pentreath
Wallpaper: Poppy 216957, Morris & Co x Ben Pentreath
Wallpaper: Willow 216963; Sofa: Ben’s own; Cushions (L-R): Kennet 226856, Daffodil 226854, Marigold 226847, Morris & Co x Ben Pentreath

The dining room

Wallpaper: Willow Bough 216952, Curtains: Brer Rabbit 226849, Napkins: assorted, Morris & Co x Ben Pentreath
Wallpaper: Willow Bough 216952, Morris & Co x Ben Pentreath

The bathroom

Wallpaper: Bird and Anenome 216958, Blind: honeysuckle 226850, Morris & Co x Ben Pentreath
Wallpaper: Bird and Anenome 216958, Morris & Co x Ben Pentreath

The bedroom

Wallpaper: Blackthorn 216962, Curtains: Willow Bough 226841, Seat Pad: Marigold 226844, Morris & Co x Ben Pentreath

Blog rewind

For more Arts & Crafts design, you might like to take a look at:

Arts & Crafts: Decorating with Head, Hand and Heart

Get a handle on it

If you have ever visited Kelmscott Manor and spotted these rather striking window handles, you may be interested to know that Soane Britain have produced some new ‘handy’ door handles of their own.

Kelmscott Manor is currently a ‘sleeping beauty’, closed for planned conservation work funded by the National Lottery Fund and we hope will be ready to re-open in 2021.

Window handles at Kelmscott Manor, West Oxfordshire. Photo: Charis White

Thank you

Thank you so much for reading. Thank you too to The Style Library for the privilege of early press access to the new collection images.

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With many thanks,

Charis x

Charis White, Interior stylist/writer. Photo: Fiona McLean

6 thoughts on “New Morris and Co and Ben Pentreath collection

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