Young visitors descend on the museum!

We always like to welcome younger visitors here at the De Morgan Centre, and this week has been particularly exciting – we’ve had a school visit, and also the opportunity to debut our children’s Activity Trails for the first time since we’ve re-opened.

Our first group of young visitors this week came from a local school, and were tasked with sketching an object from the collection – with dozens of paintings and hundreds of ceramics on display, they were certainly spoilt for choice. It was interesting to see how they gravitated towards certain objects; it seems that William De Morgan’s mythical creatures capture the imagination of young minds!

The pupils noted that the tile panels in particular lent themselves well to sketching – apparently, the trick is to draw the grid of tiles first, then fill in each tile one at a time. This was how one young visitor managed to create this impressive sketch of a dragon tile panel. It’s even more impressive considering he only had an hour to draw all those details!

Evelyn’s paintings got their fair share of artistic attention as well. Several of the pupils were particularly taken with ‘The Prisoner’, and one budding young artist chose to concentrate solely on the detail of the figure’s clasped hands, explaining that it was his homage to David Hockney’s ‘Mum’ painting. Unsurprisingly, this young lad has his hopes set on an art scholarship - he truly puts my doodling skills to shame!

At the end of the session, the children had a Q&A with our curator, which gave them a chance to learn about the social history of William and Evelyn De Morgan. They exhibited a remarkable attention to detail, noticing that Evelyn used the same model (Jane Hales) for many of her paintings. We received lots of great feedback from the class and look forward to having them back soon!

This week we also had a chance to once again offer our Activity Trail to families. This trail leads children on a hunt round the gallery, searching for dragons, magicians and fanciful fish. It focuses in particular on William’s Galleon tile panel and Evelyn’s ‘Flora’, which have only recently returned to us from being out on loan, so this is the perfect time to make the Trail available again. Young visitors are encouraged to practice their art skills by sketching tile patterns and designing their own mythical beast, and are challenged to write a poem, find out facts about the De Morgans, and pick out details in the paintings.

This little black cat peeks out at visitors from Evelyn’s ‘The Love Potion’. The Activity Trail asks children to fill in a thought bubble for him, and this week a young girl enthusiastically informed me, ‘He’s thinking about fishing boats!” With all the galleons and stormy seas depicted in the gallery, I don’t doubt for a moment that he’s got fishy feasts on his mind!


If you would like to book a school trip, or are interested in visiting with young friends or family members, and would like more information on what the gallery can offer, please do get in touch at


Emma Coleman, Museum Officer