Horn Poppy William Morris Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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This beautiful design was actually completed by May Morris, rather than William, but we include it here because of the similarities that it holds with much of his work. She completed this artwork in 1885, when in her early-twenties.

May Morris studied at the Royal College of Art and quickly decided to follow in the footsteps of her famous father, William. She sought to extend his own work with her ideas and creativity but did not want to veer too far from what he had already achieved. In working for Morris & Co, too, it was important that she conformed to the brand that had already been created and also had helped to ensure considerable success over the preceding decades.

During her career she would impress in several different mediums, just as her ambitious father had done, including jewellery and embroidery. Just like her father, she was also a passionate socialist, though somewhat limited by her gender, as was the case during the Victorian era. It was exciting to see how a female would take the talents of her father and add a feminine edge to it, as well as modernising some elements just as any child would do.

Horn Poppy captures several poppies together with a flurry of foliage. It has been reproduced in a number of different guises, normally involving the swapping of colours to produce different effects. She continued to use Jeffrey and Company for her manufacturing needs, just as her father had done. This design is part of the collection of the V&A, which is also the best place to head for those looking to understand more about this family's contribution to British art.