The present tapestry is the last of seven recorded weavings of the reduced version of Burne Jones' original of 1882, and was woven in 1937 as part of the preparations for the ill-fated coronation of Edward VIII. The other six versions were woven in 1898, 1899, 1903, 1904, 1920, reflecting the enduring popularity of both the design and its relatively modest scale.
Burne Jones' original designs for 'Pomona' of 1882 and its companion 'Flora' were his first specifically executed for the medium of tapestry, marking the beginning of a long and successful collaboration in this field between Burne-Jones and Morris. In the original version, much larger than the later weavings and embellished with an elaborate border and inscriptions above and below, Morris himself created the acanthus scroll background and border design, incorporating his lines from his own verse "Pomona":
I am the ancient apple queen
As once I was so am I now
For evermore a hope unseen
Betwixt the blossom and the bough.
Ah! Where's the river's hidden gold
and where the windy grave of Troy?
Yet come I as I came of old
From out of the heart of Summer's Joy.
Morris refers to his participation in the new venture in a letter of February 1883, writing excitedly, if not with a hint of trepidation: ..."Uncle Ned has done me two lovely figures for tapestry but I have got to design a background for them. I shall probably bring them down (to Kelmscott) next time I come for my holiday task."
It was most certainly for reasons of commercial expediency that the decision was taken by Morris & Co. to reweave Pomona and Flora in a smaller version. For this and subsequent weavings the ground was re-designed by Morris' chief designer John Henry Dearle, with typical millefleur composition based on the 15th and 16th century Flemish tradition which had first inspired Morris to revive the 'noble art' of tapestry weaving.
An example of this subject (woven 1900) is in the permanent collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum London and another is represented in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.
cf. H. C. Marillier, History of the Merton Abbey Tapestry Works, 1927, p.32, the six earlier weavings recorded.
Linda Parry, William Morris Textiles, 1983, p.108 et. seq. Linda Parry, ed., Victoria and Albert Museum, 1994, (Exh.) No. M126