Friday, January 11, 2013

The Flower Garden

embroidered silk, bearing the inscription, 'Lo silken my garden & silken my sky and silken
the. apple. bough hanging on high'
259cm. high by 132cm. wide;
8ft 6in., 4ft 4in.1890s
ESTIMATE 8,000-12,000 GBP
Lot Sold: 19,375 GBP

Linda Parry, William Morris Textiles, London, 1983, p. 32

This piece belongs to a group of hangings produced by May Morris and her embroiderers titled 'The Flower Garden' or alternatively 'Fruit Garden'. There are a number of versions of the design which feature the same floral decoration but
with differing inscriptions. All are taken from William Morris's poem 'The Flowering Orchard' which was published in 1891, after he had exhibited a 'Flower Garden' embroidery at the Arts and Crafts exhibition in 1890.

Other versions were produced by Morris & Co. between 1892 and 1896 and the design was also available as a kit to embroider at home. One example was ordered by Mrs Theodosia Middlemore (now in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London) and another by Mrs Barr-Smith of Adelaide. Further examples are in the Museum of Fine Art in Boston. The kits cost £9 in 1896 whereas completed examples, made under May Morris's supervision at her house in Hammermsith Terrace, cost £96.10s.

We are grateful to Linda Parry for her assistance with the cataloguing of this lot.

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