floorspread, painted and dyed cotton, late 17th-early18th cent.
tent hanging, printed painted and dyed cotton, early 18th cent.
hanging, silk embroidered cotton, c. 1650-1700
tent hanging, velvet stamped with gold paint, 18th cent.
tent hanging, printed painted dyed cotton, late 18th cent.
carpet, wool warp, cotton and silk weft, wool pile, 17th cent.
It is well-known that Morris was inspired by Islamic art (see, for instance, this post). The above pieces are all from the Islamic Mughal Empire that ruled the Indian subcontinent from the 16th to the mid-19th centuries. They are also all in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum and featured in their new box set V&A Pattern (these being from the "Indian Florals" volume). Who knows, maybe Morris had a hand in acquiring these specific pieces?! According to E.P. Thompson's book William Morris - Romantic to Revolutionary, he was often consulted by the museum curators when they were considering expensive purchases of textiles or tapestries. Certainly Morris would have studied Mughal textiles. He was a leading scholar of the decorative arts and felt there could be no division between study and practice--he considered the South Kensingtion Museum (now the V&A) to be his personal playground and once remarked "perhaps I have used it as much as any man living".