This sequence of tapestries was originally designed for William Knox D'Arcy, for the dining room of his house, Stanmore Hall in Middlesex. Several further versions were woven later. Birmingham's Verdure was commissioned by Mrs Middlemore, wife of the Birmingham leather manufacturer Thomas Middlemore, and bequeathed to the Museum in 1947.
The subject matter is based on the 15th century text Le Morte D'Arthur (The Death of Arthur) by Sir Thomas Malory. It tells the story of the spiritual quest by the knights of King Arthur's round table for the Holy Grail, the cup from which Jesus and the disciples drank at the Last Supper.
A verdure is a type of tapestry that represents plants or wooded landscapes, sometimes with birds or animals. They were produced in Northern Europe from the Middle Ages to the 18th century.
Verdure tapestries were originally designed to hang beneath each of the first four narrative scenes in the dining room at Stanmore Hall. Each had an inscription, which described the subject above it. The design for this Verdure was adapted by J H Dearle in 1900, from Burne-Jones's design for the original one which hung below The Summons.