The eternal appeal of a classic floral design is captured in the work of Irish illustrator William Kilburn (1745–1818). The artist behind William Curtis’ Flora Londinensis, a comprehensive book on 18th-century English botany, Kilburn was also a leading designer and printer of calico.
With winding twigs, colourful petals and undulating seaweed, Kilburn’s unique ability to blend local flora with exotic plants is on full display in these designs. This characteristic sense of creative freedom was so sought after that by the late 1700s his style was widely imitated. To protect his signature patterns, Kilburn became an activist for artists’ rights, fighting in court to defend copyright in the textile industry.
Sadly, Kilburn was unsuccessful in stopping his designs from being copied, and he died bankrupt in 1818. It is our honour to bring two original William Kilburn prints back to life in our Anemone and Floralia designs. His name may not be familiar, but we see Kilburn’s influence in the work of textile artists like William Morris who have followed in his footsteps, and in the copyright laws that protect artists today.
William Kilburn – Anemone
Available as: Hardcover journal in ultra, midi and mini
William Kilburn – Floralia
Available as: Softcover Flexi notebook in ultra, midi and mini and a pencil case
Which design do you prefer – the light and airy Anemone or dark and romantic Floralia?