Crafty Manolo » The Darling Buds of May… Morris, That Is

The Darling Buds of May… Morris, That Is

By Twistie

This lady is May Morris, daughter of William Morris and Jane Burden Morris. While her father founded the Arts and Crafts movement and her mother served as a muse to half the Pre-Rapaelite Brotherhood, appearing as such characters as Guinevere and Persephone:

May came along and grew up surrounded by art.

As you can see, there’s a bit of a resemblance from mother to daughter. But May made her name not as a muse, but as an artist in her own right. Her medium? The needle.

Here’s May circa 1890 hard at work.

At the tender age of twenty-three, she took over the management of the embroidery section of her father’s design empire. From that point on, she designed patterns for screens, tapestries, even these gorgeous christening mittens:

Check out those fabulous moths on the cuffs!

I love a talented woman with a needle, don’t you?

Her personal life was occasionally quite juicy, too. In 1894 her four-year marriage to Socialist League Henry Halliday Sparling fell apart when she took back up with a former lover and another fervent socialist, George Bernard Shaw. It took the unhappy couple another four years to divorce and May never remarried.

That last bit certainly isn’t of any importance to her embroidery and tapestry work, but sometimes a bit of celebrity gossip is fun, anyway.

Oh, and it’s interesting to note that many believe that Shaw also found inspiration in Jane, who is widely believed to be the basis of the character of Mrs. Higgins in Pygmalion. I like to believe that it’s true. And once one has read the full Shavian stage directions, it makes a whole lot of sense.

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