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Retelling the Classics: Ben Pentreath’s Latest Collection for Morris & Co

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When the renowned British architect and interior designer Ben Pentreath announces a collaboration, we take note. Which is why we are sharing the sumptuous new images of Cornubia—his latest collection for Morris & Co—the furnishings and decorative arts company founded by William Morris in 1861.

Retelling the Classics Ben Pentreaths Latest Collection for Morris amp Co portrait 6_11
Above The new collection Cornubia which is Latin for Cornwall has been styled by Ben in a beautifully preserved Arts Crafts estate clustered around a bay with views over the Cornish coast Merton wallpaper is seen here on the wall behind the sofa

Followers of Ben’s work will know that he has a natural affinity with the historic brand, who continue to employ traditional methods. (Their wallpapers are surface-printed; their fabrics screen-printed.) In fact, Ben has included a Morris pattern in almost all of his interior projects for many years now.

Named Queen Square (the Bloomsbury location where Morris lived and worked), the first collection was launched in Autumn/Winter 2020 and hailed as a contemporary reinterpretation of Morris’s original designs. Cornubia is Ben’s second, sunnier collection featuring 18 fabrics and 18 wallpapers. (Fabric is available from £99; wallpaper is available from £109.)

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Above Merton fabric frames the view of Prussia Cove<span id=ezoic pub ad placeholder 872 class=ezoic adpicker ad>
morris co prussia cove lamp
Above A Willow Bough lamp set against a wall of Blackthorn The Willow Bough fabric was originally designed by William Morris in 1887 The bed is draped in Marigolda 1875 design and one of the few patterns William Morris produced for both fabric and wallpaper

Bold and playful without tipping over into pastiche, the collection invokes two moods: an awakening landscape and a pervasive sense of nostalgia. “I was keen to develop a range that had a different mood and atmosphere to Queen Square—perhaps sunnier and brighter,” Ben explains. “I began, therefore, with a whole new palette—colors which are on my mind at the moment: tangerine, lemon yellow, primrose, soft pinks, blues, and bright apple greens—the colors of spring and summer.”

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Above Bachelors Button in the hallway Inspired by an archive pattern book with Batchelors Button on the cover this design was the catalyst for Bens Queen Square collection
Retelling the Classics Ben Pentreaths Latest Collection for Morris amp Co portrait 6_15
Above Blackthorn wallpaper in the bedroom Originally designed by JH Dearle in 1892 Ben has refreshed the design with a white background

He continues: “As we translated these new combinations into the historic patterns, there was a visible thrill in seeing how new and happy everything looked and felt! I was like a child in a candy store. Maybe intentional, maybe accidental, but these were the colors and patterns of my mid-70s childhood all over again.”

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Above A range of new fabrics from the SpringSummer Cornubia collection
morris co prussia cove 9456
Above The table is set with Willow Bough table cloth with Marigold napkins

“In developing this collection, as with the last, there are two simultaneous excitements,” explains Ben. “The first is taking timeless and much-loved classics and casting them in a new light with new colors and combinations—but the second is in reviving old patterns that haven’t seen the light of day for too long.”

Retelling the Classics Ben Pentreaths Latest Collection for Morris amp Co portrait 6_18
Above Trellis on the walls of the master bedroom<span id=ezoic pub ad placeholder 877 class=ezoic adpicker ad style=displayblockimportantfloatnoneline height0margin bottom15pximportantmargin left0importantmargin right0importantmargin top15pximportantmax width100importantmin height280pxmin width336pxpadding top15pximportanttext aligncenterimportant>
Retelling the Classics Ben Pentreaths Latest Collection for Morris amp Co portrait 6_29
Above The gentleness of Marigold which is known for its simplicity and fabulous repeat<span id=ezoic pub ad placeholder 878 class=ezoic adpicker ad style=displayblockimportantfloatnoneline height0margin bottom15pximportantmargin left0importantmargin right0importantmargin top15pximportantmax width100importantmin height90pxmin width728pxpadding top15pximportanttext aligncenterimportant>

The collection recolors timeless classics and sees the re-release of two large scale patterns that haven’t been in production for decades: Merton (formerly Eden)—which Ben first fell in love with after noticing it on a friend’s parents’ sofa more than 20 years ago—and Woodland Weeds. “These, together with the new colorings of Compton, make me happier than almost anything else I’ve seen this year,” he effuses.

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