Skip to Content
Today Open today 11–5

Strawberry Thief

A work made of cotton; plain weave, block printed, wool trim with tassels.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of cotton; plain weave, block printed, wool trim with tassels.

Date:

Design 1883, made 1883–1917

Artist:

Designed by William Morris (English, 1834–1896)
Produced by Morris & Co., London (English, 1875–1940)
Merton Abbey, London (English, 1881–1940)

About this artwork

Islamic textiles informed the design of this 19th-century printed curtain. William Morris, a key figure in the British Arts and Crafts Movement, reportedly fashioned this pattern after watching birds steal strawberries from his kitchen garden. The flattened profile of the birds as well as the stylization of the plant forms highlight Morris’s appreciation and adaptation of Islamic designs.

These small birds invading a strawberry patch have charmed consumers for more than 120 years, making Strawberry Thief one of the most recognizable and popular Morris & Co. patterns. It can be seen on wallpaper as well as dishtowels, shower curtains, and tea cups, and it even has its own Wikipedia page and spinoff video game.

Status

Currently Off View

Department

Textiles

Artists

William Morris (Designer) , Morris & Co. (Producer) , Merton Abbey Works (Weaver)

Title

Strawberry Thief

Places

England (Object made in), London (Object made in), Merton Abbey Works (Object made in), Great Britain (Object made in)

Dates

Made 1883-1917 , Copyrighted 1883

Medium

Cotton; plain weave, block printed, wool trim with tassels

Inscriptions

Label (on reverse): MORRIS & COMPANY Upholsterers 449, OXFORD STREET LONDON, W

Dimensions

283 × 106 cm (111 1/2 × 41 3/4 in.) Repeat: 50.9 × 46 cm (20 × 18 1/8 in.)

Credit Line

Purchased with funds provided by John H. Bryan, Hope McCormick, and Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Foundation; and the Textile Society

Reference Number

1992.396

IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

Learn more.

https://api.artic.edu/api/v1/artworks/149052/manifest.json

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

Share

Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions

Share