These arabesque tapestry panels were undoubtedly woven in the Soho workshops established by the 'tapissier' Joshua Morris. Morris' enterprise was certainly well established, if perhaps struggling financially, by 1726 - when an advertisement in the Daily Journal announced 'A large quantity of curious, fine, new tapestry hangings are to be sold by auction, by Mr Joshua Morris, Tapistry-Maker, at his house in Frith Street, near Soho-Square' in November 1726.
H. C. Marillier, English Tapestries of the Eighteenth Century, London, 1930, has divided Soho arabesques tapestries into two distinctive groups, while obviously sharing a number of common decorative themes. The first group - to which this pair of panels undoubtedly belongs, although they have never before been published - include the Clive set from Perrystone Court, which were signed and dated 'I. Morris 1723'. Two of these were subsequently in the collection of Mrs. John Rovensky and were sold in Parke-Bernet Galleries, 19 January 1957, lots 1017 and 1018, whilst another panel is in the Victoria & Albert Museum (No. 1161-1901) (op. ci., fig. 3b). Further related sets were orginally at Normanton Park, Rutland, now at Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincolnshire; in the Spanish Art Gallery; at Hagley Hall, Worcestershire; and formerly at Mereworth Castle, Kent.
A similar but slightly different arabesque series, on a blue ground, was commissioned by Lady Betty Germaine for the Chapel at Drayton House, Northamptonshire between 1725-30 (sold from the collection of Simon Sainsbury, Christie's London, 18 June 2008, lot 199).
Of Marillier's second group, often associated with the workshop of John Vanderbank and centered by a figure of Fame, the scrolling tendrils issuing from a mask, perhaps the best known examples of this genre are the panels in the Black and Yellow Bedroom at Burghley House, Lincolnshire. These are thought to have been commissioned by John, 5th Earl of Exeter (J. Lees-Milne, English Country Houses, Baroque, 1970, pl. 103).
In 1729, Morris was joined by William Bradshaw (d. 1775) and the flower-artist Tobias Stranover (d. 1756), and this resulted in a marked stylstic change.