The Orchard, William Morris and John Henry Dearl

The Orchard, William Morris and John Henry Dearl

The Orchard
William Morris (1834-1896) and John Henry Dearle (1860-1932)
Made by Morris & Co
England
About 1863
Tapestry woven in wool, silk and mohair on a cotton warp
Museum no. 154-1898

The Orchard was William Morris's first attempt to design a figurative tapestry, inspired by the wish of rich clients to have unique works of art by him, and by the success of his firm of Morris & Co in producing fine tapestries designed by the artist Edward Burne-Jones. It depicts an array of fruit trees with their harvest ready for gathering, including apples, grapes, olives and pears, behind a row of figures in medieval-inspired dress.

The figures are holding a scrolling banner with a poem of Morris' own composing, written especially for the tapestry, and celebrating the bounty of the orchard, and the rhythm of the seasons.