Pattern Occurring 101 - William Morris & John Henry Dearle

When commencing my Pattern Occurring 101, I thought it only right to start is with one of the greatest textile and surface designers ever, William Morris and his apprentice/co worker John Henry Dearle. Predictable I know, but very essential.  I have already covered a few of my favourites so be sure to check those out if you haven't already Lucienne Day, William Killburn and Anna Maria Garthwaite.

WIlliam Morris (1834- 1896) Is one of the major contributors to what is now known as the Arts and Craft Movement. He was profoundly influenced by the Pre Raphaelites, Medieval arts, the writings of John Ruskin and poetry of Tennyson. Morris rejected industrialization for hand craftsmanship. Elevating the craftsman to artist and creating affordable hand-made goods.  Morris's unequalled genius continues to floor me and is is still cherished and adored world wide today.  His vast legacy includes poetry, writing, manuscript illuminations, calligraphy, tapestry, stained glass, furniture, textiles and wallpapers. It can also be credited to Morris, the huge a love affair and respect for print and pattern in the UK. His influence is also clearly seen through the works of several other designers such as John Henry Dearle.

You may be forgiven for not knowing John Henry Dearle. Beginning in his teens as a shop assistant and then design apprentice, Dearle rose to become Morris & Co.'s chief designer by 1890.  Dearle created designs for tapestries, embroideries, wallpapers, woven and printed textiles, stained glass, and carpets. Following Morris's death in 1896, Dearle was appointed Art Director of the firm, and became its principal stained glass designer on the death of Burne-Jones in 1898. 

Morris's reputation overshadowed Dearle's work throughout Dearle's career: Dearle exhibited early patterns under Morris's name and Dearle designs continue to be sold as Morris patterns. Critical assessment of Dearle's work then underwent a significant change, during the final decades of the twentieth century, recognizing Dearle's mature work as having a unique artistic vision of its own. Dearle always remained close to Morris's aesthetic, however should be more readily recognized in it's own right.

William Kilburn-Victoria and Albert Museum

William Kilburn was the son of a Dublin architect and was an apprentice to a calico printer, but spent his spare time engraving and sketching. He moved to London after his father's death where he became a prolific and brillant textile designer. I am smitten with Kilburn's fine line work and choice of colours. What a tremendous designer/artist.

Kilburn was also the chief petitioner in March 1787, requesting for design copyright protection in the textile industry. At that time Kilburn was a calico printer at Wallington in Surrey. Ralph Yates, who was a London warehouseman, regularly sold Kilburn's designs to the firm of Peel & Co., who would copy the design and produce a cheaper fabric that appeared in shops within a few days. Sound familiar? I wish a similar law would be inforced in the US to protect designers today.  I hate to hear of talented designers not being recognized for their work. 

Many of Kilburn's works are available for viewing at The Victoria and Albert Museum.