William Morris (Walthamstow 1834 - Hammersmith 1896)
After spending around a hundred years locked in a trunk, this bedspread was given to Standen to display. The freshness and excellent condition of the bedspread is due to being kept in a stable, dark environment where the humidity and light couldn’t reach it. It was handmade at the Morris & Co. factory in the Embroidery Department which May, William’s younger daughter, directed from 1885. It is conceivable that she could have supervised the work on this bedspread.
An embroidered bed cover of William Morris' 'Acanthus' design, in silk on a linen base. Possibly embroidered by May Morris.
The bedspread may have been made by May Morris who began making embroideries for Morris and Co in 1885. May's work books record many requests for the Acanthus design. Although covering the beds during the day, the bedspreads were folded away at night by maids, and the family would have slept under 'whitework' covers. In 1877 a bedspread of this style could have cost up to £100. Stored in darkness for a century it has been well preserved and was probably originally made in the 1890's as a wedding present
Makers and roles
William Morris (Walthamstow 1834 - Hammersmith 1896), designer