above verse is adapted from a poem by John
Keats, entitled "To Sleep".
Keats was a hero of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood,
encapsulating in verse their ideals.
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty - that
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know":
the last two lines of "Ode to a Grecian
Urn" by John Keats.
"A thing of Beauty is a joy forever.:
the opening line of "Endymion" by
Oscar Wildes tour of America in 1882
included a lecture entitled "The English
Renaissance", in which he outlines Keats
influence on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
The abstracted form of the poem, emphasising
opiums beneficial properties, is a bold
subject for an embroidered bed-cover in the
opiums not being outlawed until 1914,
the mid- to late-Victorians had discovered
its darker side, its use for
recreational purposes was very much frowned
upon. Groups of Bohemian artists nevertheless
had no qualms in using it, like Keats, in
their quest for enlightenment.
Few within such a group, however, would
have had the courage to commission a poem
to be embroidered on a bed-cover extolling
its lulling charities.
determine the bed-covers original
owner, one would have to isolate someone
within this specific Bohemian group, who
had no particular complex about using opium
and had sufficient wit and attitude to go
to the extent of displaying such traits
in the permanent, and, for its time, stylish
asked both my colleagues specialising in
the Arts and Crafts domain and dealers in
Pre-Raphaelite paintings if they had encountered
anyone fitting such a profile. The only
person mentioned was William Burges.