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Wall hanging - Owl


  • Object:

    Wall hanging

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1895 (designed)
    ca. 1898-1900 (embroidered)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Dearle, John Henry, born 1859 - died 1932 (designer)
    Battye (Mrs) (embroiderer)
    Morris & Co. (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered in silks on silk damask, cotton backing

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Misses Audrey and Norah Battye

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Embroidered wall hanging worked in silks on a background of green woven silk damask. Wide borders on each side which have been hemmed to the back of the hanging and cut away on the right hand side.

The design shows a central motif of large meandering acanthus leaves worked in shades of peach, yellow and ivory with vein markings and outlines in pale and dark brown. Intertwined with the acanthus is a blue branched tree with large-headed exotic blooms on which perches an owl worked in natural shades. There are branchless tree trunks running up either side of the hanging, and the background and foreground is cluttered with various other plants including roses, honeysuckle, cornflowers and tulips. A partridge peeps from behind an acanthus leaf in the lower right hand side corner.

Worked mostly in darned stitches, the hanging uses stem stitches for outline work. Many different coloured silks are used including shades of green, brown, purple, yellow, cream, blue, red, pink, orange, peach and white. The birds are embroidered through an additional cotton backing.

Unlined and originally nailed to a stretcher, and some of the nail-holes are still visible.

Place of Origin

England (made)


ca. 1895 (designed)
ca. 1898-1900 (embroidered)


Dearle, John Henry, born 1859 - died 1932 (designer)
Battye (Mrs) (embroiderer)
Morris & Co. (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Embroidered in silks on silk damask, cotton backing


Height: 189 cm approx., Width: 161 cm approx., Height: 114 in, Width: 63.5 in, Weight: 1.92 kg

Descriptive line

Embroidered wall hanging 'The Owl' worked in silks on a background of silk damask, designed by John Henry Dearle, ca. 1895, and embroidered by Mrs Battye, ca. 1898-1900, made by Morris & Co., England

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

Parry, Linda, ed. William Morris. London: Philip Wilson Publishers Limited, 1996. 384 p., ill. ISBN 0856674419

Production Note

Designed by J.H. Dearle ca. 1895 as a kit for Morris & Co., and worked by Mrs Battye from 1898.


Embroidery; Textiles; Wall coverings


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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