DE MORGAN FOUNDATION

The De Morgan Centre for the study of 19th century art and society in southwest London is a permanent home for work by William De Morgan, the Victorian ceramic artist and his wife Evelyn, the painter. It houses an archive of papers relating to their lives and their circle, a reserve collection and a temporary exhibition space. William (1839-1917) and Evelyn (1855-1919) De Morgan were both highly respected artists and true renaissance people. They married in 1887 and in addition to their interest in the fine and decorative arts, became involved in many of the leading issues of the day including the suffragette movement, prison reform, pacifism and spiritualism. The De Morgan Centre is fortunate in owning the largest collection of William De Morgan's ceramics. This wonderful collection has not been together since the death of Evelyn’s sister, Mrs Wilhelmina Stirling, in 1965, which she assembled at her home, Old Battersea House in London. William’s greatest artistic legacy is his rediscovery of the lost art of lustre and the brilliant colours of Islamic pottery, especially the bright turquoise he had first admired on Isnik work of the 16th century which he had studied at the recently opened South Kensington Museum, which is today known as the Victoria and Albert Museum. Evelyn was a successful and prolific artist, exhibiting a range of her works from 1877 until her death in 1919. Her style is distinctive in its rich use of colour, allegory and the dominance of the female form. Her paintings display a specific interest in the confinement and limitations of the physical body on earth. Often this is resolved through death.


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