John Henry Dearle (1859 – 1932) began his 54 years of employment with Morris & Co working as a teenager in the firm's Oxford Street shop. William Morris took him under his wing and trained him to work firstly in the stained-glass studio in Queen Square and then as his tapestry assistant. By the early 1880s, Dearle was responsible for training tapestry assistants for the firm. His natural aptitude for design then led him to become Morris's design successor.
After the death of Morris in 1896, Dearle became Art Director of Morris & Co. He designed over 30 patterns for wallpaper and 40 for textiles as well as carpets and stained glass. His most famous, and best loved designs, include Golden Lily, Seaweed, Compton, Sweet Briar, Anemone, Artichoke, Daffodil and Iris. According to the Sanderson Design Group, who now own Morris & Co., Golden Lily is the firm's second most popular design after Strawberry Thief.
Dearle was devoted to his mentor and friend, William Morris, recalling after the great man's death, "his impetuous and curious" nature, "his kind eyes", that he was "generous minded to a fault and respected by all who worked for him". Also, that it was a "privilege to have experienced his friendship".