One of the most important spaces is the Tapestry Room, with its 17th-century Dutch tapestries, a rare survival of the Manor’s pre-Morris interiors. Originally a bedroom, the Tapestry Room took on added significance when William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti took on the joint tenancy of Kelmscott Manor in 1871.
Morris loved these rare wall-hangings mellowed by age, declaring that they gave the Tapestry Room ‘an air of romance which nothing else would quite do’. He gravitated there, using it as both workspace and sitting room. It was tapestries such as these that inspired him to learn the technique himself and set about reinventing it.
The Society of Antiquaries is committed to returning all the rooms at the Manor to their original arrangements, as they were when Frederick Evans photographed the interiors of Kelmscott Manor in 1896. We have commissioned a conservation assessment of the tapestries and their condition is extremely weak, with numerous holes and losses, including distortions and tensions in the woven
structure. The Society is currently preparing plans to reconstruct the Tapestry Room’s partition to enable us to reinstate the tapestries in their historical configuration with the partition to the Bachelors bedroom, so that visitors can experience the room as it was in the 18th and 19th centuries.
‘The importance of returning the Tapestry Room to its original state cannot be overstated. William Morris used the room as his
principal workspace as did, later, his daughter May. We hope that you will support our campaign.’ Martin Levy FSA, Chairman of the Kelmscott Campaign Group