Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Morris Flowerpot Design

Flowerpot Embroidered Panel
Designed by William Morris
Embroidered by daughter May Morris
Collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum

There is some confusion over who designed this cushion. The V&A has an example embroidered by May Morris.

"[May] embroidered both her own designs and those of family and friends. The 'Flowerpot' pattern you see here is probably William Morris's last design for embroidery. His inspiration was two lacis panels acquired by the V&A in 1875." [Lacis is drawn-thread lace.]

Curator Linda Parry in her William Morris Textiles describes the cushion cover:

"One of the earliest [late 1870s]  the Flowerpot is taken directly from the design of two samples of seventeenth century Italian lacis work...."The successful format of the design, starting as it does from the centre bottom and working up and out in a flurry of stems, leaves and flowers."
Yet, she notes, "Flowerpot itself has a stiffness uncharacteristic of his work." [Page 29]

After 1885 May Morris was in charge of Morris & Co.'s embroidery workshops and she and John Henry Dearle designed new patterns after that date. It may be that May designed the Flowerpot.

 The panel with its striped, footed vase has inspired several quilters and designers.

Flowering Urn by Rosemary Makhan

Rosemary Makhan featured an appliqued striped vase on the cover of
her Floral Abundance book and added a pair of Morris birds.

Applique artists continue to use her patterns published in the year 2000 to great effect.

Garden of Life
Friendship Knot Quilters Guild,

Garden of Life
Friendship Knot Quilters Guild, 2011
The pattern is the Flowering Urn Medallion from Floral Abundance

A Matter of Morris
by Mary Mix, 2013

Mary Mix's version of the Flowering Urn Medallion.

Di Abram has recently won a lot of prizes with her sampler, a combination of
Rosemary Makhan's center framed by blocks from Michele Hill's Friends.

Pat Cox 
Ode to William Morris 
Center panel

Pat Cox used the striped vase with a pair of birds for
the focus in her sampler

Pat Cox 
Ode to William Morris 

The Tapestry Shop UK
You can buy a hand-embroidered copy as a pillow.
Several embroiderers have worked out close interpretations.

Counted embroidery from
The Stitchery

Do a web search for the words
William Morris Flowerpot
or Flower Pot if 
you are looking for an embroidery pattern or kit.


  1. I love seeing old designs reinvented into new quilts, beautiful examples.


  2. When I saw the flowering urn, I thought, "oh, I love it!" Then I realized I bought the book years ago!

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  4. We lost a wonderful quilter and designer when Rosemary Makhan passed away, this past January. It's lovely to see how old designs, like Morris's, are still inspiring quilters, today. Thanks for the link.

  5. Nice to see the photo of Di on your blog. Her quilt is stunning.

  6. Hi Barbara.

    Thank yuo very much for sharing my quilt with your readers. Di Abram in Chester England