Sunday, November 27, 2011

Morris & Company Brother Rabbit

Brother Rabbit from my Moda collection
Morris & Company

"Brother Rabbit" was designed by William Morris in 1882. It's a monochrome print, quite small in scale (especially for a Morris print) but also finely detailed. This is one Morris pattern that was actually designed to be a cotton print.

Here's a magnified shot so you can see the detail although it's fuzzier in the photo than it is in the fabric.
Like many of Morris's designs, it's based on his observations in his garden. Birds and  rabbits hide in the vegetation.

For Morris & Company we colored it five ways. It reads as a neutral and will provide some light contrast to the darker, larger-scale prints.

Like many of Morris's designs the inspiration is the intricacy of medieval tapestry.

Rabbits are often seen hiding in the garden as in this detail from one of the Unicorn tapestries.

Br'er Rabbit from Joel Chandler Harris's Uncle Remus stories

There are references to this print as "Br'er Rabbit" and the idea that William Morris was inspired by the Uncle Remus stories in American folklore, yet a talking rabbit seems the antithesis of what he was trying to do with his emphasis on European medieval design.

So I am sticking with the name Brother Rabbit, it's patent registration name in 1882. I think it reflects the same kind of empathy for the garden's residents that inspired the "Strawberry Thief."

Plant enough in the garden so the birds and animals can share.


  1. Love this fabric! There were so many rabbits in our field in England my terrier got bored with chasing them...that is saying something!

  2. Beautiful fabric. I have some old fabric with animals, never could think of what to make with it, so will have to come up with an idea. I always put out the vegetable and fruits I use, in the garden for the animals. This way they eat what they want and the rest goes back into the soil.


  3. I'm so glad I stumbled across your blog. I find it so interesting to keep learning bits and pieces about the fabric we love and its history. Thank you.

  4. Are there any plans to issue Brother Rabbit in "Red House Red" (to match the old Morris red this pattern originally came in)?