Left Hugh Dunford Wood block printing Right Wallpaper Peggy Angus
‘imperfections’ are a crucial ingredient in the tactile appeal of his designs. “I like hand-made objects that reveal something of the maker,” he says. “It’s so much nicer than a machine-made thing that’s perfect but perfectly dead.”
Following in the footsteps of William Morris, twining plants are a recurrent theme in Dunford Wood’s designs; but some of his other patterns have surprising imagery, such as Shoebaloo, featuring an array of vintage footwear, and Field of Hares, depicting a family of hares in the countryside. Although wallpapers remain his speciality, he also produces a range of block-printed linen cushions called Peaceable Kingdom, decorated with characterful illustrations of wild animals such as badgers and owls.
Katherine Morris (another of Peggy Angus’s assistants during the 1980s) got to know the designer through her father, a family friend. Morris had originally planned to pursue a career in architecture but changed tack after becoming frustrated by the lack of opportunity for spontaneous creative expression. Having been initiated in the art of wallpaper-making by Angus, who she praises as “a most extraordinary, lively and inspirational woman”, Morris decided to set up her own workshop, in the 1990s using the same lino block and emulsion paint technique to print her two-tone designs. As she points out: “This method of printing produces a softness and subtlety of variation which cannot be achieved mechanically.”
Some of her patterns are decidedly Angusesque, especially those incorporating circle, star and triangle motifs. Others conjure up the spirit of the Arts and Crafts Movement, such as CatsandBirds,