Sunday, 3 July 2011

The Tree motif c. 1900

I do not have much more to add, but I was struck by the number of similar compositions to Godfrey Blount's Tree of Life hanging that were being produced at around the same time.  

May Morris' embroidery featured trees with sweeping curves up their stems as shown in the 1893 hanging below and is also observed in her 1896 work 'The Orchard'.  
A bed hanging from William Morris' bed
at Kelmscott Manor, designed by his daughter,
May Morris, assisted with Lily Yeats and 
Ellen Wright c.1893
These curves with a tree and a bird are continued in Dearle's 1895 'The Pigeon' below.
detail of The Pigeon, designed by J.H. Dearle, c.1895
made by a Mrs Battye from a William Morris kit in 1898
Victoria and Albert Museum 
This similar composition is laid bare in Godfrey Blount's Tree of Life in 1896 below.

Tree of Life by Godfrey Blount, 1896
Victoria and Albert Museum
Echoing the simplistic design is M.H. Baillie Scott's screen in the same year, 1896, with a very straight tree trunk.

Detail of screen panel by Mackay Hugh
Baillie Scott c.1896
Victoria and Albert Museum
C.F.A Voysey designed a similar composition in the same year, 1896, in Duleek below with a combination of trees, including elongated trunks.
Detail of 'Duleek' curtain designed by C.F.A. Voysey 1896,
made by Alexander Morton & Co.
Victoria and Albert Museum
This 1904 Silver Studio cushion cover panel reminds me of the above slightly older works.

Cushion cover panel designed by The Silver Studio
and Liberty's
Victoria and Albert Museum


  1. Two very interesting posts. Although the Morris hanging is beautiful, I think I prefer the simplicity of Blount`s design.

  2. Thank you. Although Godfrey Blount didn't hold back on writing about things(!), I have not found anything he has written or said to explain why he depicted the images that he did in his tapestries.


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