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In this blog Art History student Callista Aston from the University of Auckland explains how she helped the De Morgan Foundation to identify the source material for a study in our collection by Evelyn De Morgan: D_EDM_0390. The study is one of several copies which we believe Evelyn undertook in situ at various museums whilst training to be an artist.

Natasha Logan joined us for a short volunteering stint in the winter of 2014. She had previous museum experience but we always hope we can offer something new and unique for our volunteers. Reading Natasha's account of her time with us, we think we may have succeeded in this case!

 

On August 10th, 1880, William De Morgan, William Morris, Jane Morris and companions left Morris' home of Kelmscott House to journey by boat to Kelmscott Manor in Oxfordshire. A member of the party (possibly William Morris) typed a highly entertaining account of this expedition, noting the towns they passed and places they stopped for the night, the food they ate, and the people they encountered along the way. The De Morgan Foundation holds a transcript of this account in its archive; enjoy this short synopsis!

 

This week we welcomed our painting conservator, Carol Willoughby. The De Morgan Foundation is undertaking conservation on eleven of Evelyn De Morgan's paintings, and the first step in that process is taking the canvases out of the frames. The paintings and the frames will go to separate specialist conservators. This has been an interesting week for staff and volunteers, as it is a chance to experience the paintings close-up, see them out of their frames and, in some cases, uncover exciting new discoveries!

This week (1st – 7th June) is Volunteers’ Week, an annual event celebrating the contribution made by millions of volunteers across the UK. As a small institution, we rely on our dedicated group of volunteers to keep the Foundation running smoothly. Our trusty helpers perform a wide range of tasks, and we’d like to take a little time today to highlight some important activities that couldn’t take place without their help.

 

Online Catalogue

Recently the British Museum put out a call for objects for a project called 'Teaching History in 100 Objects'. This project aims to support teaching of the new history curriculum by creating a set of free, high quality online resources based on museum objects. The British Museum will be showcasing many objects from museums across the UK in order to showcase the potential of local and regional collections in supporting students’ learning.

This post is part of our From The Archives blog series

William’s mother Sophia kept a detailed ‘Nursery Journal’ which depicts the early lives of her children. This page taken from the journal is proof positive that William wasn’t the only De Morgan with an artistic flair – the bold lines and confident execution in this sketch by his sister Alice show that she, too, was a budding young artist. 

This post is part of our From The Archives blog series

This letter from our archives is a perfect example of cross-writing, a practice that was common in the 19th Century. It involved writing a page of text, turning the page ninety degrees, and adding a second layer of text: 

This post is part of our From The Archives blog series

This rather unusual note comes, unsurprisingly, from an archive box labelled ‘Miscellaneous’. It is a handwritten cure for gout – we can’t recommend that you try this at home.

Click to enlarge

This post is part of our From The Archives blog series

We have only a handful of photographs of William De Morgan in our archive, and even less of Evelyn, and most of these taken in her later years. So this early photograph, found nestled in a family photo album, is a particular treasure.