William Morris' bed curtains / by Sasha Ward

 The bed: My drawing of a caterpillar embroidered on the bedcover: One of the curtains.

The bed: My drawing of a caterpillar embroidered on the bedcover: One of the curtains.

I have been skirting around WM's imposing bed with the beautiful curtains and cover, placed provocatively between my favourite DGR drawing and Jane's embroidered version of it (see my earlier blog post). I have also admired the embroidered details on the cover by May and Jane of the river and of local flora and fauna in an observational style.

The design of the curtains is linked to WM's trellis wallpaper, but their style has always reminded me of the 17th century crewel work curtains by Abigail Pett in the V&A Museum. In a time when most of our art book illustrations were in black & white, I used to go to the V&A for children's Saturday sessions. I have never forgotten the name of Abigail Pett - a rare non anonymous woman. I have also continued to find inspiration in textiles, carpets, printed sources and all manner of decorative arts, as William Morris did. My first glass commission for a public building (Lansdowne Hospital in Cardiff, still in the black & white era), shows the same influences I think - the birds were drawn from my stamp collection.

 Above: Abigail Pett's curtains in the V&A. Below left: A favourite book. Below right: My first public commission.

Above: Abigail Pett's curtains in the V&A. Below left: A favourite book. Below right: My first public commission.