Hammersmith rug designed by William Morris, 1879
Beige, brut, brown with Hammersmith mark. Hammersmith rugs and carpets were hand-knotted in the Coach House of Kelmscott House before the carpet looms were moved to Merton Abbey in 1881. Morris first produced carpets, often working on the loom himself, in the 1870s when he was already working on printed and woven textiles. This rug was produced c. 1879. It displays the early Hammersmith mark in which stylised waves are added to a hammer motif with the letter ‘M’ to indicate that it was produced at Kelmscott House. Although Morris felt that hand-knotting produced a work of art, he acknowledged that hard-wearing and functional floor coverings were needed and he pioneered a range of popular machine-woven carpets.