Strawberry Thief

Furnishing Fabric
1883 (designed), ca. 1955 (made)
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

William Morris was inspired to draw this design after finding thrushes stealing fruit in his garden. This original complicated and colourful pattern was printed by the indigo discharge method and took a long time to produce. Consequently, it was expensive to buy. Despite this it became one of Morris & Co.'s most commercially successful textiles and is now his most recognisable design.

This reproduction of 'Strawberry Thief' uses modern chemical dyestuffs and was not discharge printed and so looks very different from the versions originally printed to Morris's specification. It is possible however that the original blocks were used to produce this fabric, as the blocks were obtained by Stead McAlpin on the liquidation of Morris & Co. in 1940.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Block printed cotton
Brief Description
Furnishing fabric of printed cotton, 'Strawberry Thief', 1883, designed by William Morris, printed by Stead McAlpin, retailed by Warner & Sons, England, ca. 1955
Physical Description
Furnishing fabric of block printed cotton with a design of birds, flowers and strawberry plants. The technique used is not indigo discharge as in the original design. This sample has a blue/grey block printed background with the design in pale blue, pink, red, green and brown.
Dimensions
  • Width: 55in
  • Length: 26.75in
  • Length: 37.5cm
  • Width: 139.7cm
Production typeCopy
Marks and Inscriptions
  • 'This is a Warner Fabric' (Blue paper label with crest and trademark)
  • 'Made in England / Strawberry Thief. No CB532. 1 repeat; width 50ins: cotton 100%/CF' (Reverse of blue paper label with crest and trademark)
Object history
This later reproduction of 'Strawberry Thief' uses modern chemical dyestuffs and was not discharge printed and so looks very different from the original. It seems possible that the original blocks were used to produce this fabric, as the register regords that the blocks were obtained by Stead McAlpin on the liquidation of Morris in 1940.
Summary
William Morris was inspired to draw this design after finding thrushes stealing fruit in his garden. This original complicated and colourful pattern was printed by the indigo discharge method and took a long time to produce. Consequently, it was expensive to buy. Despite this it became one of Morris & Co.'s most commercially successful textiles and is now his most recognisable design.



This reproduction of 'Strawberry Thief' uses modern chemical dyestuffs and was not discharge printed and so looks very different from the versions originally printed to Morris's specification. It is possible however that the original blocks were used to produce this fabric, as the blocks were obtained by Stead McAlpin on the liquidation of Morris & Co. in 1940.
Collection
Accession Number
T.1-1978

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record createdJune 24, 2009
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