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William Morris Tiles from Textiles and Tapestries

This page: William Morris tapestries and embroidery, medieval tapestries.

Other tiles from textiles: Morris designs for fabric and wallpaper

William Morris Tiles from Textils Collage

From top left: Willow, Medway, Yellow Peony (retired), Hunt for the Unicorn, Anemone, Heart of the Rose (detail), The Forest tapstry, Strawberry Thief, Willow on black, Strawberry Thief detail, Strawberry Thief (blue on cream), Jasmine (blue), Lodden (blue), Strawberry Thief (red), Golden Lily (blue), Strawberry Thief (green), Anemone (tangerine), Golden Lily, Lady and the Unicorn. See All.

...everything made by man's hands has a form, which must be either beautiful or ugly; beautiful if it is in accord with Nature, and helps her; ugly if it is discordant with Nature, and thwarts her; it cannot be indifferent.. ~William Morris

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Wall Coverings

Nothing should be made by man's labour which is not worth making, or which must be made by labour degrading to the makers ~William Morris

The Decoration of Red House

William Morris would have no wallpaper in Red House, his first married, that he designed with the assistance of architect Philip Webb in a medieval style. Rather he had had tapestries and embroidered wall hangings, and murals household articles handpainted by friends who we call second-wave Pre-Raphaelites and still admire their work today.

Then one evening, after dinner with some friends, and looking around at how successful they had been at decorating Red House, they struck upon an idea: To form a company to do for others what they had done at Red House.

The Business of Decorative Arts

At Red House and at Morris, Marshall, Faulkner, designs were adapted for multiple media: tile, wallpaper, fabric, tapestries, and stained glass. Architect Phillip Webb designed furniture and stained glass. Pre-Raphaelite painters Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti designed tile, painted frescoes and furniture. William De Morgan started with stained glass and moved to ceramics. Morris himself did it all, as well as being a popular poet and writer, a political activist, and establishing Kelmscott Press.

Initially, work was done on commission but it was not long until a catalog was needed. Morris's nascent socialist leanings were taking form. The beautiful things created were available only to the wealthy. This was not what he had in mind:

I do not want art for a few; any more than education for a few; or freedom for a few... ~William Morris

But the impersonal, mass-produced products of an industrial nineteenth century was not a compromise he was willing to make. Morris & Co.'s workers were well treated and earned a high wage, compared to other companies of the day. Some critics faulted him for the high cost of his products relative to Minton Co. and others. Morris would not compromise on quality.

The Move to Wallpaper and Fabric

Tapestries and hand-embroidered designs could not be made widely available. And so Morris, lover of tapestry and hand embroidery, took to putting his love of nature to designs for wallpaper and fabric. These were produced in-house, most famously at his Merton Abbey works. Morris took a hand in every detail -- seeking out dyes with depth of color, finding quarters with the large looms he would need for rugs and carpets.

Available tiles from tapestry and embroidery and shown on this overview. Because there are so many images, William Morris and Morris & Co. designs have moved here:

Morris Tiles from Textiles

Available Textile Patterns

This page: William Morris and Morris & Co. tapestries and embroidery. Medieval tapestries.

Other tiles from textiles: William Morris and Morris & Co. fabrics and wallpaper designs

Tapestries

Morris himself preferred tapestries, but the cost put them out of reach for all but the wealthy class.

William Morris Forest Tapestry tile panel
The Forest
(William Morris and Philip Webb)

Edward Burne-Jones Heart of the Rose tapestry tile mural
Heart of the Rose
(Edward Burne-Jones and John Henry Dearle)

The Pre-Raphaelites and the Medieval

Although William Morris is considered the the father of the Arts & Crafts movement, he is no less a Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite. The elements in his designs are carefully chosen for their meaning, and his goal was to elevate the decorative arts to the quality of fine art. He was strongly influenced by John Ruskin and advocated a return to medieval craft value. His Daisy pattern is based on a medieval wall-hanging (The Evolution of Daisies).

Tiles Medieval Tapestries

The unicorn tiles are based on the Hunt for the Unicorn and The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries.

Unicorn Tapestries tiles
The Lady and the Unicorn and The Hunt for the Unicorn
(Medieval tapestries)

Embroidery by William, Jane, and May Morris

May Morris Flower Pot Jane Morris embroidered daisies

Left: May Morris Flower Pot (available on ceramic and marble). Right: Jane Morris Red House Daisies embroidered on blue serge.

Tiles to Textiles and Back Again

Left: Burne-Jones, tapestry design, unknown date,	Center: Burne-Jones tile panel, Medea, 1862. Right: Burne-Jones, Morgan Le Fay, 1862

Left: Burne-Jones, tapestry design, unknown date
Center: Burne-Jones tile panel, Medea, 1862.
Right: Burne-Jones, Morgan Le Fay, 1862

Tiles were an early product for Morris & Co., and actually Morris & Co. tiles were not produced for much more than a decade. Many William Morris textile designs were also implemented in tile and stained glass. William De Morgan, originally in charge of stained glass at Morris & Co., found his own interests moving in the direction of tile, and eventually started his own tile works.

Some of the tiles from textiles here:

  • Early textiles designed by William Morris and implemented by Jane Morris and the other ladies in their circle of friends. The first daisy pattern was designed by Morris and hand embroidered by Jane Morris on a blue serge material that she had found in a London shop. (1862-1865). (see Red House daisy patterns).

  • Early Morris, Marshall and Faulkner offerings primarily designed by William Morris. A later version of the daisy pattern (1864) was produced during this period. (1865-1868)

  • Later Morris, Marshall and Faulkner offerings created at based on William Morris designs but created by Kate Faulkner and others. William Morris designed Jasmine in this time frame. Bramble, designed by Kate Faulkner, was also produced during this period. (1868-1875)

  • Tiles from Pre-Raphaelite tapestries (The Forest), Morris-love medieval themes (Heart of the Rose), and actual medieval tapestries (the Lady and the Unicorn, Hunt for the Unicorn).

  • Early Morris & Co. designs by William Morris and others at Queen Square. Morris designed Acanthus at this time. (1875-1881)

  • Merton Abby textiles designed first by William Morris and later by John Henry Dearle, May Morris, and others. Morris designed Brother Rabbit during this period.

  • Morris and Co. textiles textiles designed after Morris's attention had shifted to Kelmscott Press and Socialist issues, as well as after his death in 1896. During these years, the Firm was under the direction of John Henry Dearle for wallpaper and textiles and May Morris for embroidery. The new designs still showed a strong Morris influence. Dearle designed Anemone during this period.

Pricing

4.25 inch square tiles: $44 each up to 12 tiles, 12 and over $42, 25 and over $39

6 inch square tiles: $51 each up to 12 tiles, 12 and over $48, 25 and over $44

6 inch by 8 inch tiles: $68 each up to 12 tiles, 12 and over $63, 25 and over $60

8 inch square tiles: $72 each up to 12 tiles, 12 and over $68, 25 and over $63

Availability*: Tiles without custom work (see How to Order Tile for what that means) can ship fairly quickly in the 4.25 and 6 inch versions. For other sizes, there may be a little longer wait on larger orders as I don't stock as many of these blanks.

Minimum Order: For 4.25 and 6 inch: 5 tiles, any combination. For 6 x 8 inch: 8 tiles.

Quick Order Tiles from Textiles

The six-inch tiles are the most popular. You can quick order tiles from textiles in 6 inch. For other sizes or for different colors than those listed, see How to Order Tile

  1. Order number of tiles

  2. Tell me the tile or tiles you want and your color preferences.

This only works for the US and Canada. For other countries, contact me so I can give you a shipping estimate.