orris showed an early interest in embroidery and mastered the craft before the founding of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. in 1861. He taught himself, even going so far as to pick apart original medieval examples of embroidery to learn various stitching techniques. Morris led the rediscovery of free-form embroidery, which became known as ‘art needlework’ – an important element of the arts and crafts movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Morris embraced the use of naturally dyed silks and threads for his embroideries, which produced more muted and subtle tones than many of the commercially available products of the time.

The company sold embroidery kits, consisting of designs drawn onto linen sold with the silk and wool threads required to complete the work. Often a corner was begun by the factory, which acted as an indication to the buyer as to which stitches and colours to use throughout the rest of the design. Floral and botanical designs dominated Morris's embroidery patterns, which were often referred to as 'gardening with silk and gold thread'. The company’s embroideries were employed for a wide range of uses including screens, hangings, mantle borders, table covers, altar frontals and cushions. Morris's daughter May Morris (1862–1938) became a highly skilled embroiderer and designer and was appointed director of the embroidery department at Morris & Co. in 1885.

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