New Exhibition on Victorian Designer John Henry Dearle

William Morris Society hosting display at Kelmscott House

'Morris's successor' John Henry Dearle'Morris's successor' John Henry Dearle

April 15, 2023

A new exhibition at The William Morris Society in Hammersmith explores the talents of designer who was an apprentice to William Morris and is widely seen as his successor at Morris & Co.

Although John Henry Dearle (1859-1932), designs, such as Golden Lily, are well known to the public his name is not and he is a somewhat neglected figure often lost in the shadow of Morris. The William Morris Society is seeking to redress this situation by mounting the first exhibition to focus solely on Dearle's life, talents, and achievements.

During his 54-year career with the Morris & Co. Dearle’s natural aptitude for design, hard work, and congenial personality, saw him rise from a shop assistant in the Oxford Street showroom to a partner and Artistic Director of the firm.

Dearle designed over 30 patterns for wallpaper and 40 for textiles as well as carpets and stained glass. In the late 1880s and 90s, when Morris became increasingly interested in political activities and book printing, it was Dearle he intrusted as principal advisor to the firm’s customers and as Chief Designer and head of the firm’s workshops at Merton Abbey.

Golden Lily wallpaper designed by John Henry Dearle, 1897Golden Lily wallpaper designed by John Henry Dearle, 1897. Picture: Collection of The William Morris Society

The free exhibition Morris’s Successor: John Henry Dearle (1859-1932) runs to 17 December 2023 placing Dearle in the spotlight, examining his extraordinary and lengthy career at Morris & Co. and his relationship with William Morris.

Objects from the Society’s collection, including woven tapestries, embroideries, printed fabrics, and wallpapers, will feature in this exhibition. The exhibition is sponsored by Sanderson Design Group

Kelmscott House in Hammersmith. Picture: Google Streetview

It takes place in the Coach House, Kelmscott House, 26 Upper Mall, Hammersmith, W6 9TA which is open Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday 2 – 5pm. Admission is free and all are welcome.

The William Morris Society exists to make better known the life, work and ideas of William Morris, designer, craftsman, poet and socialist. The Society’s premises are in the Coach House and basement of Kelmscott House, Morris’s Hammersmith home for the last 18 years of his life.

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