The design for this embroidery was commissioned from Morris & Co. by Mrs Frances Battye. It was designed by May Morris and worked by Battye herself. Frances Battye (neé Bibby) was the daughter of James Jenkinson Bibby, a successful entrepreneur and founder of the Bibby Shipping Line. She married a barrister called Richard Battye in 1866, however he died in 1873. The Battye family coat of arms was incorporated into this embroidery.

Frances Battye was a skilled embroider and completed this large hanging with the help of her two daughters, Audrey and Norah. She also completed two other hangings around 1898, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. This embroidery features woodland birds and animals as well as various family mottos including ‘ye earlie birde getteth ye wurm’.


  • Title: 'Battye' embroidered wall hanging
  • Creator: May Morris, Frances Battye
  • Date Created: c.1900
  • Location Created: London
  • Type: embroidery
  • Rights: © William Morris Gallery, London Borough of Waltham Forest
  • Physical Dimensions: 188 x 296
  • Object Number: F101
  • Medium: coloured silks on canvas
  • Credit line: Donated by Miss M Audrey Battye and Mrs Bibby, 1950

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