Friday, December 10, 2010

Morris Tapestry Project

It's hard to believe my patio ever looked like this picture taken in early November.
Fall is over! Annuals are gone and the hostas are asleep.
On the fence is Roseanne Smith's unfinished top of Morris Tapestry prints from Moda.

She's pieced squares inside of squares from precut Layer Cakes
 (10" squares) and added yardage for the setting.

Here's the plan drawn in Electric Quilt.
The quilt awaits a border.

For the setting strips she's using the print called Bachelor's Buttons.
 For the Morris Tapestry collection we've done it in six colorways.

William Morris designed it for wallpaper. Why this print is called Bachelor's Buttons I cannot tell.
It certainly doesn't look like the familiar cornflower, also called Bachelor's Button.

The leaves are much more like an acanthus leaf, a traditional image we find in classical Greek design, and in several other designs by William Morris.

Acanthus Leaf by William Morris
(this print is in The Morris Workshop collection from Moda)

Acanthus mollis:  leaves above and flowers below

The scrolling acanthus leaf is one of the basic images in ornament found in this 19th-century painted box and 18th-century tapestry below.

The leaf is found in columns from ancient Greece

and classical revival architecture everywhere.

Kevin did some searching and found a ranunculus (a good word and a good garden plant)
that is called Bachelor's Button.

Here's another variety of ranunculus that looks a lot like the fabric.
So now I guess I'll reword this:

Morris's inspiration for Bachelor's Button might have been a ranunculus drawn with the traditional curving lines seen in classical acanthus leaves.

Thanks, Kevin!

See a piece of the original wood-block printed wallpaper in the Bachelor's Buttons pattern at the Victoria and Albert Museum's website by clicking here:

And read more about the acanthus leaf in William Morris's designs at the Earthly Paradise blog by clicking here:


  1. Hi, I just wanted to let you know that I love your fabric a morris tapestry, I have ordered it this week and I can't wait untill it arrives because it is just stunning, thanks for creating this fabric.
    Happy holiday season Anneke ^..^

  2. Found a picture of a ranunculus that is called bachelor buttons and it looks like the WM print... http://www.gardenstew.com/plantstew/9000063

  3. Kevin---Great Detective work
    I'll post a picture of the Bachelor's Button ranunculus.

  4. That quilt is gorgeous in those prints, I really love it.


  5. I have always loved acanthus designs, esp. in architecture. I remember my grandmother's sofa was slipcovered in a wine colored fabric with huge white acanthus. Thanks for another good lesson.

  6. I picked up a selection from Harper's today. Absolutly gorgeous!

    Sheryl S.