Research: William Morris Textiles at Standen House

Although the course handbook encourages us to look at contemporary textile artists, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit Standen House and study the vast number of textiles created by William Morris this National Trust property contains.

The gallery below shows a selection of the wallpapers and textiles designed by William Morris. I was in awe of the designs and in particular of his ability to create repeating patterns with no obvious seams or breaks. Though this is arguably easier to do today with computer software, Morris’ ability to create these designs by hand was impressive.

The last example is a textile print called “Marigold” created in 1875. I was intrigued by the way that William Morris stylised the flower and how printing it in dark blue creates a very different interpretation of a marigold. Perhaps surprisingly, most of these designs are still available to purchase. The relevant links for the designs above are Trellis, Daisy and Marigold.

The fabrics below all feature embroidery to emphasise the details.

These are still available too and can be found at the following links: Woodland Tree, Jasmine Embroidery.

Standen House contains beautiful textiles that have been hand embroidered by three generations of the Beale family. The staff were able to show me samples embroidered by volunteers that mimic the drapes in rooms. The finished textiles were stunning and I was surprised to see that upon closer inspection, the stitches used were relatively simple.

The house is currently hosting an exhibition Morris & Co Inspired by Nature which showcases stunning embroideries using silk threads. I was intrigued by the idea of hand dyeing my own silk embroidery threads as I am relatively comfortable with dyeing and painting silk.

There was a wealth of inspiring items in the house and one of these was a selection of origami birds made from paper printed with William Morris designs. This gave me the idea of printing paper or textiles and creating shapes such as pills from them.

As an aside, even the candle sconces and the finger plates on the doors were beautifully designed!

Standen House is a treasure trove of examples from the Arts and Crafts period and I highly recommend a visit.

[All links accessed on 18/07/19]

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