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Holy Grail Tapestry - Quest for the Holy Grail Tapestries - Verdure with Deer and Shields

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Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

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Basic Information

Accession Number:1947M53
Collection:Applied Art - Textiles
Date:1900 - 1900

Maker Information

Designer:John Henry Dearle - View biography for John Henry Dearle
Designer:Sir Edward Burne-Jones - View biography for Sir Edward Burne-Jones
Designer:William Morris - View biography for William Morris
Manufacturer:Morris & Co - View history


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.

Presented by Miss Evangeline Middlemore, 1947.

Further Information

Production Period:19th century
Medium:Wool, silk, mohair and camel hair weft on cotton warp.

Associated People


Height:3152 mm
Width:1550 mm