As big fans of William Morris table linen are sure to already know, one of his most popular motifs – which can be seen on tablecloths, place mats, duvet covers, postcards, cosmetics bags, art prints, cushions, wallpaper… the lot! – is Strawberry Thief.

The intricate design is now available in a range of colours (although we here at Table Style are quite partial to the crimson textile versions… we’ve even got it in stock as an oilcloth tablecloth and as a napkin!), but just where did the artist get his inspiration for one of the world’s most popular patterns?

Well, according to the V&A – which is home to a truly extensive collection of wallpapers, tile designs and textiles all by Morris himself – he came up with the idea and based the name on the thrushes he frequently saw in the garden of his country home, Kelmscott Manor in Oxfordshire, who would very cheekily pop in from time to time to pinch the strawberries from the kitchen garden.

Printed on cotton using the indigo discharge method (an ancient technique that has been used for hundreds of years that impressed Morris because of its crisp detail and depth of colour), the fabric was meant to be used initially for curtains or draped around the walls.

If you’re a huge fan of this particular design and want to take your Strawberry Thief obsession that one step further, you can download a game by award-winning designer Sophia George that allows you to draw on your iPad screen with your finger to uncover the famous motif, which then transforms into an animation.