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.
  • © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery


Association Artist Organisation
Designer Sir Edward Burne-Jones -
Designer William Morris -
Designer John Henry Dearle -
Manufacturer - Morris & Co


Type Position(s) Method Date(s) Notes
These are the arms of certain knights of the round table bidden to seek the sangreal who departed on the quest whatever befal but those that thus departed these are the chiefest sir gawaine of orkney, sir lancelot, sir hector de marys, sir bors, sir perceval, and sir galahad
Caption - Embroidered - woven


Catalogue No. Venue Date(s)
Holy Grail Tapestries
- Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery 1981-01-01 - 1981-01-01
Edward Burne-Jones: Victorian Artist-Dreamer
- Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 1998-06-09 - 1998-09-06
- Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery 1998-10-17 - 1999-01-17
- Musée d'Orsay, Paris 1999-03-01 - 1999-06-06
Common Threads
- Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery 2002-07-01 - -


Author(s) Date(s) Publisher Pages
Gyron le Courtois, avec la devise des armes des Chevaliers des la table ronde
Anonymous 1520 Paris n/a
The Holy Grail Tapestries
A B Bence-Jones 1895 Victoria & Albert Museum, London n/a
Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones
Lady Georgiana Burne-Jones 1903 Macmillan, London Vol. II: p. 211
The Holy Grail Tapestries: Designed by Edward Burne-Jones for Morris & Co.
Emmeline Leary 1985 Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery n/a
William Morris
Linda Parry 1996 Victoria & Albert Museum, London p. 232
Christopher Wood 1998 Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London p. 117 & inside front & back cover
Pre-Raphaelites and Other Masters: The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection
Nicholas Tromans 2003 Royal Academy of Arts, London pp. 242-243


Woven for Mrs Mary Middlemore.

Associated people

Name Type
Mrs Mary Middlemore Commissioned by
Sir Thomas Malory Associated with

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