Morris & Co. Merton Abbey: Printing Morris chintzes

Morris & Co. Merton Abbey: Printing Morris chintzes

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Area Merton
Copyright 1 William Morris Gallery, London Borough of Waltham Forest
Stakeholder Image WMG
Picture Reference MerMor_​19_​8-12
Original Format Photo
Notes / History This shows material being printed using the hand block printing method. This method used a wooden block with the pattern either carved or formed using copper/metal on to the block. Each colour within the pattern would have a separate block. The blocks were put into the correct place using pitch pins that were on each corner of the block. The cloth being printed would normally be three blocks wide and the length depended on the size of the table that the cloth was being printed on. It could be as much as 100ft (35 metres). The cloth was normally silk. This method continued to be used until the introduction of silk screen printing.

Hand block printing, along with the making of the blocks and mixing of the various colours was highly skilled work and it took seven years to learn each of the different jobs.

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