ARTS AND CRAFTS FOR ALL SEASONS – AUTUMN 61/10 Vase by Nicola Slaney of Moorcroft


Arts & Crafts Autumn by Nicola Slaney of Moorcroft 61/10

John Henry Dearle (1859–1932) began his 54 years of employment with Morris & Co working in the firm’s Oxford Street shop. William Morris took Dearle under his wing and trained him to work as his tapestry assistant where he created 30 patterns for wallpaper and 40 for textiles, which included the famous Golden Lily, Seaweed, Compton, Sweet Briar, Anemone, Artichoke, and Daffodil designs.

Autumn is inspired by William Morris’s first tapestry, Acanthus and Vine, woven over 516 and a half hours by Morris on a loom in his Hammersmith bedroom in 1879, and now displayed in his home, Kelmscott Manor. The design was influenced by the ‘large-leaf’ verdure tapestries woven in France and Flanders in the 16th century, and its deliberately faded appearance was probably an attempt to recreate the wall hangings that had impressed Morris when he visited a hunting lodge in Epping Forest as a boy.

Fawn-coloured birds calling out at varying angles amidst a rich tapestry of burgundy vines. In truth, Nicola has tamed Morris’s oversized acanthus leaves, which his friends had mockingly referred to as cabbages, by allowing the duck-egg blue leaves to be balanced with gentle apple-toned foliage.