Medway was designed by William Morris and registered on 21 September, 1885. The design continued to be printed until 1940. We know this fabric was printed and sold around 1917-20 because of the company markings on the selvedge which says Recd Morris & Company in a wavy line. originally at Merton Abbey. It was also produced as Garden Tulip wallpaper. Of the 19 patterns registerd by Morris & Co between May 1882 and September 1885, 17 were for indigo discharge. Medway used half blues, weld and madder shades providing up to eight colours in all. The diagonal design of Medway was influenced by a seventeenth century Italian velvet then recently acquired by the South Kensington Museum, now the V & A*. Many of Morris' designs are named after tributaries of the River Thames. Medway is one of them.
The diagonal design Medway with large light pink striped tulips alternating with smaller deep pink species, both on elegant elongated strems, the background filled with a variety of small white flowers, the selvedges with Recd Morris & Company.
The right hand side says 25/8 which must have been a measure for the length of fabric being printed.
Repeat: 18 1/4 x 12 in; 46.5 x 30.5 cm
I have two lfull width lengths
8 ft 11 in x 38 1/2 in; 2.7m x 98 cm
and two lenghts 8ft 11in x 191/2 in; 2.7 x 50 cm.
Very good. On the two full widths the left hand side has slight fading which was perhaps caused by the dyer. There are a few slight fade marks to the centre.
The two narrow half width lengths. The one with the left hand selvedge has a faded strip berween 4 - 7 in wide. The lower 31 in' 80 cm there is no fading.
The length with the selvedge on the right hand side is similar.
The narrow lengths could be added to each wider length and if acting as dress curtains, the fading would not show. You could get many cushions from these two narrow lengths.
* William Morris Textiles by p 64.Linda Parry
The working drawing for this design is at the William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow
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