May Morris: Art & Life

Mabb, David. 2018. May Morris: Art & Life. William Morris Society Magazine, [Article]

Text (David Mabb, May Morris: Art & Life. Copyright, The William Morris Society Magazine)
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Abstract or Description

On entering May Morris: Art & Life in the William Morris Gallery, one is struck by two embroideries, Spring and Summer and Autumn and Winter, dating from 1895 to 1900. They are almost identical, but for two different roundels in each panel that run along the tops and together represent the four seasons. Each panel has a pair of parakeets stitched in coloured silks and metal threads onto silk damask, whose size and beauty far surpass anything William Morris ever produced (he couldn’t draw birds anyhow, so it’s not really a fair comparison). This double whammy sets the pace for the rest of the downstairs exhibition space. This includes Lotus, a subtly designed panel or curtain credited for both design and embroidery to May Morris, whose stitches, on peach coloured silk, pick out the design through reflected light as much as through the contrast of colours. Similarly, Maids of Honour, which presents a central rose bush with two flowers surrounded by a ring of violets with a flying bird in each corner, is stitched onto a fine silk net, the embroidery seeming to float in
space. Only on close viewing does the grid of the net which supports the embroidery become apparent.

Item Type:



William Morris, May Morris, Textiles, Embroidery, Art and Design History

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



February 2018Published

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Date Deposited:

15 Feb 2018 11:47

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:44


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