Sunday, 10 August 2014

A black face at Kelmscott Manor

Kelmscott Manor has some very old and very faded Flemish tapestry hangings, which were in the house when William Morris first took it on an annual lease in 1871, and date from the 17th century.  The story they depict in a now rather jumbled and mangled form is that of Samson, being blinded and demolishing the Philistine temple.  I had not noticed before the presence of a typical baroque serving-boy, wearing a neat stripey shirt and holding a water-jar, whose dark skin remains visible, though equally faded. 

And here is a photo from a few months before Morris's death, taken by Frederick Evans at Morris's request, which shows the tapestry as it then was, hanging over a closet door - 

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