Thursday, December 16, 2010

J.H. Dearle's Daffodil

Daffodil from my new Moda collection
A Morris Tapestry
Damask Black Colorway

As William Morris aged he turned over the supervision of Morris and Company to John Henry Dearle (1860-1932), known as Henry. Dearle had begun as a showroom assistant when he was an 18 year-old art student and graduated to designer. After Morris's death in 1896 he became Art Director. Linda Parry, the expert on Morris design, has counted 25 Dearle designs in repeating textiles (Morris did 36).*

Morris's Wey design, also in A Morris Tapestry

For his early designs Dearle tended to copy flowers and leaves from Morris's patterns, combining them in new repeat, not much different from Morris's characteristic designs. He gradually developed his own style, typified by Daffodil from 1891. Morris had often used a diagonal set to his florals, but Dearle alternated the flowers here with a bold vertical stripe.

We've done the Daffodil print in seven colorway,
above Wardle's Sky Blue and Fennel Green, left and center.

Morris's line is often subtle; in this piece the stripe dominates.

An original print or document print
Morris would not have used the bright pinks, blacks and bitter yellows in this version of Henry Dearle's Daffodil. As the Arts and Crafts Movement style evolved into Art Nouveau unusual color combinations obtainable with synthetic dyes became the fashion.
Dearle adapted Morris's emphasis on nature to new Art Nouveau sensibilities and color. The block print for Daffodil required ten blocks for the color combinations, which came from synthetic dyes. Dearle understood the changing direction of the Arts and Crafts movement. His Daffodil design for wallpaper and print was one of the firm's most popular sellers.

Poster by Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939).
Mucha, Henry Dearle's contemporary, 
pushed Art Nouveau principles
 and color to create a popular style. 

Prints were one facet of Henry Dearle's interests. He also designed carpets, tapestries and embroideries as well as stained glass. His son Duncan W. Dearle (1893-1954) specialized in glass and when Henry died on January 15, 1932, Duncan took over the firm. But by the 1930s modernism ruled and the Morris firm went into decline, going into liquidation in 1940.

See more of Dearle's work by searching for "Dearle" on the search page of the Victoria and Albert Museum's website. Click here:

And see an earlier post about him by clicking here:

The Textile Blog has a post about his tapestries

*Linda Parry, William Morris Textiles, Viking Press, New York, 1983. There is a picture of Henry Dearle on page 70, a sketch showing him looking exactly like an Edwardian gentleman who lived into the modern age.

1 comment:

  1. Keep all of the wonderful info coming! We all so enjoy your blog.
    Julie in TN