GB Morris & Company: Decorative delights from the stars of arts and crafts

To mark the 150th anniversary of the famous design company Morris & Co, Royal Mail issued a set of six stamps on May 5.
They feature examples of the company’s beautiful hand-crafted designs, fashioned in wood, fabric, wallpaper, ceramics and stained glass by six different artists.
The original company of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co was founded in 1861, and established a reputation for interior design, fine furniture and decorations.
Its founders were the celebrated artist William Morris, his business partners Peter Paul Marshall and Charles Faulkner, painters Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Ford Madox Brown, stained-glass designer Edward Burne-Jones and architect Philip Webb.
Morris and Burne-Jones had met at university, while Webb had trained Morris when he was apprenticed as an architect. Rossetti was a leading member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, harking back to medieval art before the Renaissance, and his colleagues were sympathisers too.
The company would lead the so-called arts and crafts movement, concentrating on decorative rather than fine arts.
Philip Parker of Royal Mail Stamps said: ‘Morris & Company inspired a generation of designers and manufacturers, and was a seminal influence on the arts and crafts movement which flourished during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.’
Designed by Kate Stephens, the stamps were printed in lithography by Cartor.


COMMEMORATIVE WORTH    The prestigious company led a design revolution whose impact is still felt today

This is the pinnacle of arts and crafts design, and care has been taken to show a good spread of mediums

It’s in the eye of the beholder. Some collectors will find the stamps beautiful, others will think them too fussy

1st class Cray by William Morris
Designed in 1884, this was the company’s most complex fabric print, requiring 34 individual blocks for handprinting.

1st class Cherries by Philip Webb
The stamp shows a detail from a dining-room wall panel of 1867, now housed in the Victoria & Albert Museum.

76p Seaweed by John Henry Dearle
This wallpaper design from 1901 shows the distinctive Turkish and Persian influences the artist brought to the firm’s designs.

76p Peony by Kate Faulkner
Dating from 1877, this is one of a number of ceramic tile designs produced by the sister of Charles Faulkner.
£1.10 Acanthus by William Morris & William De Morgan
Created in 1876, these slip-covered and hand-painted glazed tiles were designed to create patterns when laid together.

£1.10 The Merchant’s Daughter by Edward Burne-Jones
Made around 1864, this stained-glass window is in the Victoria & Albert Museum.

The presentation pack was written by Peter Cormack, former curator of the William Morris Gallery. In a prestige stamp book Linda Parry takes an in-depth look at the history and legacy of Morris & Co.
As ever there are stamp cards and first day covers.


Set of 6 stamps    £4.64
Presentation pack    £4.60
Stamp cards    £2.70
Prestige stamp book    £9.99
First day envelope    £0.30
First day cover (set)    £6.04
First day cover (PSB pane)    £2.16
TOTAL    £30.43