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On display

Hand-knotted 'Hammersmith' rug with fringe (c.1880s)

William Morris (1834 - 1896)

This small 'Hammersmith rug' was designed by William Morris. The border of peonies and pastel colouring shows the influence of Chinese design. This rug was given to the Gallery by Martha Wooldridge, (1863-1958) a classical dancer who purchased it around 1898 for her home, the Arts & Crafts House called 'Wavertree' in St Margarets, Twickenham, with whom she shared with the radical preacher Stewart Headlam (Headlam is perhaps most famous for putting up half of Oscar Wilde's bail when he was tried for ‘gross indecency’ in 1885). 

A similar example was given by Morris to Maragret Mackail (nee Burne-Jones) on the occassion of her wedding in 1888, this is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum (T.104-1953). Another small rug to the same design was lent by Mrs. Lucius Gubbins to the Victoria & Albert Museum William Morris centenary exhibition in 1934 (94). It is reproduced in Gerald H. Crow's "William Morris - Designer" published by 'The Studio' 1934 p. 81.

The same design was later woven at Wilton (their no. 6213).