About this artwork
Islamic textiles informed the design of this 19th-century printed curtain. William Morris, a key figure in the British Arts and Crafts Movement, reportedly fashioned this pattern after watching birds steal strawberries from his kitchen garden. The flattened profile of the birds as well as the stylization of the plant forms highlight Morris’s appreciation and adaptation of Islamic designs.
These small birds invading a strawberry patch have charmed consumers for more than 120 years, making Strawberry Thief one of the most recognizable and popular Morris & Co. patterns. It can be seen on wallpaper as well as dishtowels, shower curtains, and tea cups, and it even has its own Wikipedia page and spinoff video game.
- Currently Off View
- William Morris (Designer) , Morris & Co. (Producer) , Merton Abbey Works (Weaver)
- Strawberry Thief
- England (Object made in), London (Object made in), Merton Abbey Works (Object made in), Great Britain (Object made in)
- Made 1883-1917 , Copyrighted 1883
- Cotton; plain weave, block printed, wool trim with tassels
- Label (on reverse): MORRIS & COMPANY Upholsterers 449, OXFORD STREET LONDON, W
- 283 × 106 cm (111 1/2 × 41 3/4 in.); Repeat: 50.9 × 46 cm (20 × 18 1/8 in.)
- Purchased with funds provided by John H. Bryan, Hope McCormick, and Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Foundation; and the Textile Society