Friday, February 1, 2008

William Morris Forest Tapestry

I've been waiting on pins and needles (pardon the pun) for my trellis kit to arrive! In the meantime, it never hurts to drool over the other interesting things out there. Today I've been reading about tapestries.

One of William Morris' greatest legacies was his revival of a number of art forms that were on the brink of extinction at the end of the 19th century. Chief among these were his fabulous tapestries. The Forest Tapestry, created in 1887 was designed by Morrs, Philip Webb and John Henry Dearle. It was later woven out of wool and silk on cotten warp in the Merton Abbey workshops by Morris and Co.'s three most senior weavers. It is believed that John Henry Dearle, Morris' most talented assistant and an expert in the art of natural dyes, created the floral details for the tapestry. The animals were drawn by Morris' friend (and designer of Red House), Philip Webb. Morris wrote the inscription that was written across the original: "The Beasts that be in woodland waste, now sit and see nor ride nor haste" (the verse was later published under the title "The Lion" and included in a volume of poetry by Morris entitled Poems by the Way (1891).

The design went on to become one of the most popular in the history of Morris and Company. The original now hangs in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

I've also included a photo of Beth Russell's fabulous needlepoint adaptations. I usually can't stand animals in needlepoint designs, but I think these come across as regal and decidedly un-tatty. I especially love how she's displayed them! If you're interested in making one of these cushions yourself, you can purchase it through her website, or find the design in her book, Traditional Needlepoint

In closing, it's been really fun to read everyone's posts on seven things about themselves! Thanks for joining in!

1 comment:

Ragged Roses said...

I love William Morris tapestry designs and you've just reminded me that it was Phillip Webb who designed that house, Standen that I told you about when I left a comment on an earlier post!