The Cornubia collection by Ben Pentreath

A Cornish Idyll and a Hymn to Landscape

The afternoon sun bounces off the sea, causing us to shield our eyes from its brilliance. The salty coastal air wrinkles the nose. A landscape can hold stories and memories, and yet still have something new to say. Cornubia, the new fabric and wallpaper collection for Morris & Co. by Ben Pentreath, is a harmony of all these sensations.

The second instalment from Ben for Morris & Co., this time the sought-after architect and designer offers sensual delight and a collection straight from the heart. Returning to his Cornish roots (which reach back to the 14th century), Ben uses the ornamental design language of nature cultivated by William Morris to express his deep feelings about this unique landscape. A synthesis of historic pattern with stunning scenery is expressed in the collection’s very title; ‘Cornubia’ is Latin for ‘Cornwall’.

Complementing the moodier hues of his first collaboration, the autumn/winter Queen’s Square collection, Cornubia looks outside, boldly into the light. A joyous nostalgia is palpable across Ben’s innovatively elevated colour story. In his words;

“I was keen to develop a range that had a different mood and atmosphere to Queen Square – perhaps sunnier and brighter. I began, therefore, with a whole new palette – colours which are on my mind at the moment: tangerine, lemon yellow, primrose, soft pinks, blues and bright apple greens – the colours of spring and summer.”

For us at Morris & Co., there’s always a quiet thrill to seeing these archival designs in the hands of a true master. They’re part of a lexicon, a design language used to express new ideas about nature, about craft, about the perfect home.

Ben discovered Compton, an 1895 design by William Morris’s apprentice and successor J.H. Dearle, in one of his journeys through our archive. Just like rekindling an old love affair, Ben completely recast its colour legacy, including daffodil yellows alongside sunset oranges, all interspersed with vibrant pops of indigo.

Compton is just the beginning. Cornubia comprises a selection of designs Ben found an almost instant connection with, with some back in production for the first time in a long while. With Trellis, the earliest of all Morris & Co. wallpaper designs, Ben lavishes his most radical treatment, transforming the design from the darkly moody colourway into a celebration of all that is verdant and green.

In a gesture which confirms the regard Ben shares with Morris for creating warm, homely spaces, Cornubia has been styled at a beautifully preserved Arts & Crafts estate, clustered around an ancient bay with astonishing views over Cornwall’s southernmost coast. A visual tour-de-force, both in terms of the designs and its styling, Cornubia was photographed by visionary photographer, Antony Crolla.

18 fabrics and 18 wallpapers await the voyager to Cornwall’s rugged coast and traveller through 160 years of Morris & Co. design.


posted on 11 Apr 2022 in Interiors

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