Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Common thread


One of my favourite textiles by May Morris is Maids of Honour. Over the past few years the version of her embroidery featured in this post has piqued my imagination to the extent that it became the source of inspiration for a drawing, a small painting (the study for a larger work currently in progress) and most recently, a linocut (pictured top).

Recently I discovered a remarkable connection between Maids of Honour and the artist Marie Spartali Stillman, whose work appears next to mine on the poster for the upcoming exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Ballarat: Pre-Raphaelites Drawings & Watercolours and In the Company of Morris

On re-reading the exhibition catalogue, May Morris Arts & Crafts Designer, I noticed for the first time that the embroidery, now in the collection of Kelmscott Manor, was previously owned by Marie Spartali Stillman.

Pictured above, 1-5: 

Deborah Klein, Maid of Honour 2, 2023, linocut with Chine collé, 15 x 10 cm, Ed. 40.

Deborah Klein, Maid of Honour, 2020, ink, gouache watercolour and water soluble graphite, 42 x 30 cm. Private collection.

Deborah Klein, Maid of Honour (study), 2023, acrylic on canvas on board 10 x 10 cm. Currently part of the exhibition One Hundred Faces at Playing in the Attic, running until late May. 

Poster for the joint exhibitions Pre-Raphaelites Drawings & Watercolours and In the Company of Morris at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. The exhibitions open this Saturday, 20 May, and run to 6 August.

Maids of Honour, c. 1890, coloured silks on silk, designed and embroidered by May Morris. Collection: Kelmscott Manor, given by Frances Stillman. (Page view from May Morris Arts & Crafts Designer).