Trellis was the first wallpaper designed by William Morris, and the third to be printed by Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. The design, which exemplifies Morris’s early interest in flat, abstracted pattern, layered to create a sense of depth, was based on rose trellises in Morris’s garden at Red House, the home designed for Morris and his wife Jane by Philip Webb. Webb worked in collaboration with Morris on this design for wallpaper, supplying the birds which add movement and interest to the composition.
Morris’s Arts and Crafts movement would have been impossible without Philip Webb, the modest, thoughtful and hardworking architect and designer whom Morris met while training as an architect in Oxford. Although primarily an architect, Webb was an avid sketcher of plant and animal life, as shown in his sketchbooks now held by the V&A. In addition to his role as a designer of furniture, metalwork and glass, Webb was also instrumental in the administration of Morris & Co., balancing the accounts and on occasion sacrificing his own wages to keep the business solvent.