Ceramics

Ceramics

The De Morgan Foundation is fortunate in owning the largest collection of William De Morgan's ceramics. De Morgan began his artistic career working alongside contemporaries William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, before opening his own potter’s studio in Chelsea. De Morgan worked primarily as a ceramic designer, and had a substantial staff of decorators. These included Joe Juster and Charles and Fred Passenger, whose initials can often be seen on De Morgan pieces.

 

De Morgan's work is heavily inspired by the brilliant colours of Islamic pottery, especially the bright turquoise he had first admired on Iznik 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.

 

His greatest artistic legacy is his rediscovery of the lost art of lustre. In his earliest experiments he was only able to achieve flat areas of lustre colours so that his designs were in silhouette. But in later designs he was able to produce tones in lustre colours and his greatest achievement was polychrome lustre. Here, whether on tiles or on vessels, he was able to produce copper red, gold and silver lustres on the same design. When polychrome lustres were used against a dark blue background the quality of the light reflected colours was magical. These designs were often called his Moonlight Suite.

 

To find out more about the collection please use our collections search