A Morris & Co Tapestry

In 1890 William Knox D’Arcy commissioned Morris & Co to make him a set of six tapestries depicting scenes from the legend of King Arthur and the quest for the Holy Grail. The tapestries were to line the walls of his dining room at Stanmore Hall just outside London. Additional versions of the tapestries with minor variations were woven on commission by Morris & Co. over the next decade, and several of the tapestries can be viewed in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

The above tapestry is our own, it shows the central section of one of the scenes depicting The Attainment or The Achievement of the Holy Grail. 

The Failure of Sir Gawaine

The arming and departure of the Knights

Detail of one of the verdures with Deer and Shields

The Arming of the Knights and its verdure panel in situ at Stanmore Hall 1898

The Attainment at Stanmore Hall. Here you can see the three angels that we have, but ours have minor variations in their wings to these.

The overall composition and figures for these tapestries were designed by Edward Burne-Jones, heraldry was done by William Morris, and the foreground florals and backgrounds by John Henry Dearle.

Textile historian Linda Parry wrote of the series “their design, decoration and weaving establish them, beyond doubt, as the most significant tapestry series woven in the nineteenth century.”

images courtesy wikipedia

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13 comments

  1. Remarkable! Thank you so much!

    1. Glad that you enjoyed it.

  2. Reblogged this on Old Black Waters and commented:
    Amazing craftsmanship and story. Today we would program the design into a computer and with a little computerized weaving create the tapestry.

    On the plus side we have more time to watch honey boo boo.

    1. Pleased that you enjoyed seeing the craftsmanship, but no idea what honey boo boo is!!! I shall have to google it.

  3. Those tapestries are stunning. I didn’t even know anyone was doing tapestries so late in the 19th century. I tend to think of it more as a much earlier craft.

    1. William Morris was a medievalist at heart – a leading exponent of the medieval and Gothic revival – a guiding light for the Arts and Crafts movement through his writings, his lectures, but mostly through the things he created. His firm produced furniture, stained glass, wallpaper, textiles and these tapestries.

  4. Did I read right when you said the tapestry is your own? I am full of awe. I cannot think of anything more desirabe than such a Morris tapestry, Rosemary!

    1. Yes, it is ours. It is only a small segment of The Attainment tapestry, but I love these Morris angels with their magnificent red wings.
      Of course it is not an original Morris!!! but a reproduction Flemish made tapestry bought when we were in France a few years ago.

      1. I am very envious. Beautiful.

  5. Lovely! I still remember the William Morris wall coverings and rugs in my childhood home in England.-Jillian who wishes she didn’t know who honey boo boo is

    1. Now I have googled honey boo boo you have my sympathy. What happened to the coverings and rugs I wonder?

  6. Have you been to the Watts Gallery in Surrey? Lots of Burns Jones and other Arts and Crafts work there. If you do visit you must go to the nearby chapel for more Angels. The photos here don’t do them justice. It’s stunning.
    http://www.wattschapel.co.uk/

    1. Yes, I know it well. It is one of my favourite places. I did a post on it which you might like to see here.
      http://wherefivevalleysmeet.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/watts-cemetery-chapel-compton-surrey.html

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