Marvel at the beauty of the Snakeshead pattern by William Morris

Design Classic – Influential and important design

Snakeshead - The Cleveland Museum of Art
Snakeshead – The Cleveland Museum of Art

Snakehead Fabric

  • Designer: William Morris
  • Material:  plain weave cotton, printed
  • Manufacturer: England, Walthamstow, Early 20th century

When Morris created Snakehead in 1877, British India was a popular source for imported Indian silks. Small motifs and the striking red and black colour scheme, popular for a short time before people turned to paler tones, make this design stand out. Despite the colour scheme suggesting far-off, warmer locales, Morris’ favourite flower, the fritillary, which he recalled growing in the meadows near Oxford, is depicted in the pattern.


Snakeshead – William Morris (British, 1834-1896) – Google Arts & Culture. (n.d.). Google Arts & Culture. Retrieved March 30, 2023, from

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