“Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did. ” William Butler
No doubt, like me, you will have been feasting on fresh, ripe strawberries, maybe even eating them at Wimbledon? Nowadays strawberries are available all year round, or so it seems, but there is something rather special about eating a homegrown strawberry in July. Is it my imagination or do they simply taste better when they have had the chance to mature naturally?
Strawberries have inspired artists and designers over the centuries, there is something rather irresistible and satisfying about that plump, red, heart shaped berry with the tiny, decorative seeds dotted around its middle.
This “Strawberry Thief” design by William Morris will always be linked in my mind with this time of year. Maybe because it was one of the first textile designs that I studied as a schoolgirl and needed to apply that knowledge to summer exams!
Morris was said to have been inspired by the sight of thrushes stealing fruit from his garden at Kelmscott Manor. It presented him with many problems during printing, which he finally overcame, although it took many attempts and several years to produce the desired effect, which used a red alizarin dye, and a yellow weld combined with indigo blue.
I think I love it the most of all of his designs and my heart still skips a beat every time I see it.