Happy New Year! We hope you’ve all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. It’s probably been our best Christmas ever, with over 7000 visitors coming over the two weeks either side of the big day.
We’re now in 2017 and I thought that an embroidered fire screen that we have upstairs in the house would be appropriate for the first blog post of the year.
It was embroidered by May Morris who was the second daughter of William and Jane Morris. She was born in 1862 at Red House in Bexleyheath and learnt to embroider from her mother Jane and aunt Bessie Burden.
She studied embroidery at the precursor of the Royal College of Art, the National Art Training School. Unusually for the time she took part in her father’s business with his encouragement and ran the Morris & Co. embroidery department, starting when she was only 23.
If you wanted, you could buy embroidery kits from Morris & Co., with the pattern printed on a linen ground and silks provided to embroider it yourself. The V&A even have a half finished kit in their collection.
She combined Jane and Bessie’s skill for embroidery with her father’s design abilities, producing beautiful embroideries and designs. Later May was involved with the Royal School of Art Needlework – now the Royal School of Needlework.
Best wishes for 2017 and hope to see you here soon!