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WILLIAM MORRIS (1834-1896)
WILLIAM MORRIS (1834-1896)


WILLIAM MORRIS (1834-1896) A RARE AND EARLY 'HAMMERSMITH' RUG, 1878-1881 hand-knotted wool, woven with a flowering vase 33 in. (84 cm. ) high; 43 in. (109.3 cm.) wide woven hammer cipher and letter M
Christie's New York, The Eclectic Eye: From the Gallery of Yves Mikaeloff, 21 May 1997, lot 424.
Similar examples illustrated:
O. Fairclough & E. Leary, Textiles by William Morris and Morris & Co. 1861-1940, London, 1981, p. 52, pl. C12;
M. Haslam, Arts & Crafts Carpets, Singapore, 1991, p. 64, fig. 39;
C. Gere & M. Whiteway, Nineteenth-Century Design, London, 1993, p. 211, pl. 263;
S. Day et al., Great Carpets of the World, 1996, p. 300, fig. 294.

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Fiona Baker
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Lot Essay

The hammer (for Hammersmith) and M (for Morris) ciphers seen on the current lot distinguish it as an early work, produced under Morris' supervision in the coach house and stable loft of Kelmscott House, his Hammersmith home in London. The workshop was established in 1878 and six young women, instructed by an experienced Glasgow carpet knotter, were expected to accomplish 2 inches (5 cm.) a day on the 12 ft (3.7 m.) wide frames. The carpet-making enterprise grew and was moved to Merton Abbey in 1881, enabling him to purchase much larger carpet looms.

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