Object of the Month - William De Morgan's Seahorse Tile Panels

This month, Sublime Symmetry, our touring exhibition exploring William De Morgan's use of mathematics in his ceramic designs, opens at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery in Bournemouth.

To celebrate, curator Sarah Hardy has selected one of her favourite pieces from the exhibition as June's Object of the Month.

William De Morgan’s father was Augustus De Morgan, the first professor of mathematics at University College London and the Founding President of London Mathematical Society. He was well respected for his lifetime of work in mathematics, logic and reason and his ‘De Morgan’s Laws’ of formal logic have ensured that his reputation as one of the most influential mathematicians of recent history has been cemented.

As a child, William was encouraged by his father to learn mathematics and soon came to love the subject. He was particularly interested in geometry, once commenting that Euclid Book One was the ‘most enchanting novel in literature’. Art has long been linked with mathematics, with symmetry being synonymous with beauty and in De Morgan’s ceramic designs his desire to perfect both mathematics and design work is evident.

Whilst many of De Morgan’s animal and floral designs are busy and full of his humorous character, his use of basic geometrical structures, such as reflective symmetry ensure an order and a beauty to his work.

This Seahorse Tile Panel by William De Morgan, featuring swirling waves and creatures of the deep features tessellating scales on the creatures and a symmetrical ordering to give the design balance and harmony.

The panel will be on display at the Russell- Cotes Art Gallery in Bournemouth from 14th June 2019, in the Foundation’s exhibition Sublime Symmetry, which focusses on De Morgan’s use of mathematics in his designs.