Friday, August 23, 2013


 It is thought that they intended to create 12 embroideries of famous women to decorate the dining room, but just seven were completed. Only six of these were known - three at Castle Howard and three at Morris's summer home Kelmscott Manor - until July 7 when a seventh turned up in the 709-lot sale at Shapes (15% buyer's premium) of Edinburgh.

The 3ft 101/2in by 15in (1.2m x 39cm) unfinished and unframed wool embroidered panel was attributed to Bessie Burden and depicted Aphrodite wearing only a halo and a floral waistband, her hair cascading down almost to her feet.

Shapes consulted The William Morris Society who were able to provide the information on the panel from pre-Raphaelite biographer Jan Marsh and Arts and Crafts textiles specialist Linda Parry. It emerged that the figure of Aphrodite was known only from a painting at Kelmscott.

When the Morris family moved out of Red House in 1865 the panels were dispersed among Jan Morris, Bessie Burden, Kate Faulkner and Georgiana Burne-Jones. 

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