William Morris’s influence at Standen

Embroidered cushion, probably worked by Maggie Beale, in the Drawing Room at Standen. ©NTPL/Nadia Mackenzie

I was struck by these images of the beautiful textiles at Standen, West Sussex, with their glowing colours and subtle designs.

The Drawing Room at Standen, with its Morris and Morris-inspired furnishings. ©NTPL/Michael Caldwell

The house was built  by Philip Webb between 1892 and 1894 for the Beale family. The interiors are one of the best surviving ensembles of the designs of William Morris.

Detail of the silk-embroidered wall hanging, based on William Morris's 'Artichoke' design and worked by Margaret Beale and her three eldest daughters in about 1896, in the North Bedroom at Standen. ©NTPL/Nadia Mackenzie

The mistress of the house, Margaret Beale, was an exceptionally fine needlewomen, one of the upper middle and upper class Victorian women who helped to revive embroidery in Britain. Some of the embroidered textiles at Standen were worked by her.

Embroidered tapestry cushion, probably worked by Maggie Beale, in the Drawing Room at Standen. ©NTPL/Nadia Mackenzie

She also passed her skills on to her daughters. Maggie Beale, in particular, created cushion covers, bedspreads and stool-tops after her own designs, but in the Arts and Crafts style, featuring flowers grown in the Standen garden.

The North Bedroom at Standen, with various embroidered textiles worked by Margaret Beale and her daughters. ©NTPL/Nadia Mackenzie

Other embroideries at Standen are based on Morris’s wallpaper designs.

Embroidered tapestry cushion, probably worked by Maggie Beale, in the Drawing Room at Standen. ©NTPL/Nadia Mackenzie

The house and its garden were left to the National Trust by Helen Beale, another of Margaret’s daughters, in 1972.

4 Responses to “William Morris’s influence at Standen”

  1. style court Says:

    So striking. And how rare for the needle-worker to be identified. At least it seems less common to me. A Met curator just did an episode (for Connections) about the phenomenon of Anonymous.

  2. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Yes I suppose one of the things these upper-midle-class ladies achieved (together with designers like Morris) was to lift embroidery out of anonimity.

  3. Janet Says:

    The colors in the needlework are amazing. . . like they were made yesterday. The NT should reproduce the patterns for modern-day stitchers.

  4. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Thanks Janet, will forward your suggestion to our product development people.

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