William Morris based his earliest wallpaper designs on flowers and plants in his own garden but later drew inspiration from country walks instead. This broadened his output and Willow Bough is one example of this. Morris was taking advantage of changes in Victorian society during this period, where many more famililies were now able to afford wallpaper for their own homes, as well as other interior design products. The Arts and Crafts Movement was particularly popular and their work felt particularly English in style, and could also draw together one's home with their garden.
This design was completed in 1887 and immediately was pushed into the manufacturing processes so that it could be sold to the public. Again, Jeffrey & Co. were used to print these designs and provide the link between the skilled draughtsmen of Morris & Company with the wider public. They had huge experience in the manufacturing of art products and could ease this process and allow their creative colleagues such as Morris to concentrate on what they did best - to create. Wallpaper sales proved good business for both companies and soon there was a need to produce more and more new designs in order to keep up with growing interest.
Morris studied his father's range of books when he was young and it was several studied of plants that particularly caught his interest. Illustrations of various plants and flowers were dotted around each one and this was perhaps the main influence in pushing the young artist towards the floral designs for which he is now most famous. Designs such as Willow Bough continue to be reproduced today in large numbers, particularly within the UK.