Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Pair of curtains - Peacock and dragon
  • Peacock and dragon
    Morris, William, born 1834 - died 1896
  • Enlarge image

Peacock and dragon

  • Object:

    Pair of curtains

  • Place of origin:

    London (manufactured)

  • Date:

    1878 (manufactured)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Morris, William, born 1834 - died 1896 (designer)
    Morris & Co. (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Hand-loom jacquard-woven woollen twill, with braid trimmings

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125, Edwin and Susan Davies Gallery, case WS []

This woven furnishing textile was made for use as heavyweight curtains or a wall covering. William Morris's increasing interest in historical woven textiles can be detected in his woven designs of the late 1870s and 1880s. This textile was clearly influenced by a visit to Vincent Robinson's shop in London in the same year it was designed. He described the room he saw there as 'from Damascus ... all vermilion and gold and ultramarine very beautiful and is just like going into the Arabian Nights'. However, the massive scale of the repeat (109 by 90 centimetres) and dense texture is far closer to northern European sources. By producing it as a thick woollen structure, Morris intended to recreate the effect of medieval tapestries.

Used in a number of schemes, including Morris's own London home, Kelmscott House in Hammersmith, London, this example is from a set of four curtains used in the hall at Clouds, the Hon. Percy Wyndham's country home near Salisbury, Wiltshire. This pattern proved to be one of Morris & Co.'s most successful furnishings. When purchased from their shop at 17 George Street, Hanover Square, London, in 1933, the firm described the design as 'a favourite with its author, [it] requires a large room to set it off its proportions'.

Physical description

Pair of woollen curtains

Place of Origin

London (manufactured)


1878 (manufactured)


Morris, William, born 1834 - died 1896 (designer)
Morris & Co. (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Hand-loom jacquard-woven woollen twill, with braid trimmings


Height: 396 cm, Width: 353 cm

Object history note

Supplied for the Hall of Clouds, near Salisbury, Wiltshire, designed by Philip Webb between 1881 and 1886 and decorated by Morris & Co. for the Hon. Percy WyndhamDesigned by William Morris (born in London, 1834, died there in 1896) and manufactured by Morris & Co., London

Descriptive line

Peacock and Dragon

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Greenhalgh, Paul (Ed.), Art Nouveau: 1890-1914 . London: V&A Publications, 2000
Parry, Linda, ed. William Morris. London: Philip Wilson Publishers Limited, 1996. 384 p., ill. ISBN 0856674419

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Morris taught himself to weave by following instructions in a printed manual. In a short time he was able to produce complex technical structures. This Medieval-looking textile has the largest pattern repeat of all his textiles. It shows his increasing interest in early textiles encouraged through studying the collections in this Museum. [27/03/2003]




Jacquard weaving


Interiors; Textiles


Textiles and Fashion Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.