Browse the collection

On display

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

William Morris (1834 - 1896)

Hand knotted Hammersmith rug with border of pairs of birds. The border featured on a plain carpet, now in the collection of Peterhouse College, Cambridge. The pairs of birds have similarities to embroidery designs by May Morris, and Linda Parry has suggested it may point to her involvement in the Firm at that time. The original design for this border is in the V&A (E.301-1939).

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).