Blog

The headstone of Roddam Spencer Stanhope

On a bleak winter’s day in January 1917, William De Morgan’s funeral service was held at Chelsea Old Church. A marble plaque honouring the much loved ceramicist and novelist was later unveiled there by May Morris. However, De Morgan’s final resting place is in fact at Brookwood Cemetery, Woking.

On the weekend of the 22nd-23rd September 2012, the De Morgan Centre offered free entry as part of 2012’s Open House London weekend, a city-wide initiative that aims to grant the public access to buildings of architectural interest and get people exploring parts of London that they wouldn’t normally see.

John Roddam Spencer-Stanhope (1829-1908), uncle of Evelyn de Morgan, was a pre-Raphaelite and symbolist painter. He was one of the group of artists which worked on the Oxford Union murals, and went on to have a quietly distinguished career as a professional artist despite his professional being at odds with his class and status as the second son of son of a wealthy family of landed gentry.

Cemeteries are often beautiful, peaceful places, perfectly suited to contemplative remembrance. 40 minutes away from Central London by train, nestled in the idyllic Surrey countryside, is a rambling cemetery with a fascinating and unique past.

                                                 

 Today marks the 100th anniversary of Bram Stoker’s death.

Any museum professional worth their salt can tell you that feedback from visitors is absolutely essential to the development of a worthwhile, enjoyable gallery. At the De Morgan Centre we keep a comment book at reception and visitors are always encouraged to write a note to let us know what we're doing right and what they particularly enjoyed. It also gives them an opportunity to let us know if anything didn't meet their expectations, so that we can aim to improve.

 

 

As beautiful as the paintings and ceramics in our gallery are, there are just as many fascinating objects and documents in our archive. It’s a real treat to come across a note or letter that reveals some of the character of the person behind the art.

We have been lucky enough to acquire a fascinating lot at a recent Bonhams sale: a bundle of letters to Marillier, Managing Director of Morris & Co. and owner of Kelmscott House, written by none other than William De Morgan.

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.

Welcoming Fine Cell Work (the social enterprise that works with Prisoners to create beautifully crafted interior design products) to the Centre once again, led me to reflect on the very special links between our two organisations, which run deeper than one might first imagine.

We often have visitors enquire where else they can see William De Morgan works on display and in situ. De Morgan's tiles can be seen in many houses throughout the country, and often pop up in unexpected places, but did you know there are some unique De Morgan tiles on display in a small memorial, right in the heart of London? This treasure can be found in Postman's Park.