This design is very similar to the acanthus leaf foliage seen in the tapestries designed by William Morris in the 1880s, such as ‘The Woodpecker’ and ‘The Forest’. However, John Henry Dearle designed tapestries for upholstery in the 1900s and this is likely one of his designs, following Morris's style.

John Henry Dearle joined Morris's employment in 1878 as an assistant in the Oxford Street showroom of Morris & Co., before being transferred to the glass painters' studio and becoming an apprentice tapestry weaver. He eventually went on to become Art Director of Morris & Co. upon Morris’s death in 1896. After many years of training alongside Morris, Dearle began creating distinctive patterns in his own right.


  • Title: Design for a tapestry sofa covering
  • Creator: William Morris, John Henry Dearle
  • Date Created: 1880s/early 1900s
  • Type: design
  • Rights: © William Morris Gallery, London Borough of Waltham Forest
  • Physical Dimensions: 73.7 x 119.4
  • Object Number: A34
  • Medium: watercolour on paper
  • Credit line: WMG purchase, 1940

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