Sunday Morning — Victoriana of the Week

William Morris Bed

The William Morris Bed

This is the famous William Morris bed, from Morris’s room at Kelmscott Manor.  The carved oak bed itself dates back to the early 17th century, but the embroidered valance and bed-hangings were designed in 1891 by Morris’s daughter, May Morris.

The poem embroidered on the pelmet is by Morris himself, and is entitled “Inscription for an Old Bed”.  It reads:

“The wind’s on the wold
And the night is a-cold,
And Thames runs chill
‘Twixt mead and hill.
But kind and dear
Is the old house here
And my heart is warm
Midst winter’s harm”.

The William Morris bed was exhibited at the Tate a few years ago, and in the following video, Tate curator Alison Smith describes the craftsmanship behind creating the bed, in particular the contribution of May Morris.


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