In March 2016 the De Morgan Foundation launched an exciting new partnership exhibition with Cannon Hall Museum in Barnsley.
The exhibition contains a fascinating selection of paintings and ceramics from the De Morgan Collection which celebrate and explore the strong links between William and Evelyn De Morgan and the Spencer Stanhope family who owned the Georgian stately home for several generations. Evelyn De Morgan's uncle Walter Spencer Stanhope owned the estate from the early 1870s onwards and it was his younger brother, the artist Roddam Spencer Stanhope, who nurtured his niece’s talent and encouraged her to become an artist.
The exhibition draws on these local links and the first room takes a look at the restoration of All Saints Church, Cawthorne by the Spencer-Stanhope brothers between 1873 and 1880. Roddam and Evelyn both contributed to the renovation of the church by decorating various elements. On display for the first time in the exhibition is a roundel of Medusa by Evelyn De Morgan, which is crafted using the same technique that she used for the Angel panels which she created for the church. To find out more about Evelyn's angels you can read our blog.
Previously unseen photographs of Roddam Spencer Stanhope's villa in Florence and some of the work which the artistic trio created whilst spending time in Italy are also displayed. Florence was an inspiring venue for the artists and paintings such as Roddam Spencer Stanhope's The Women of Sorrento and Evelyn's The Garden of Opportunity are directly inspired by the landscape of Florence and its environs.
Meanwhile potter William De Morgan, who is known predominantly for his Persian colours and imagery, collaborated with Florencian potter Cantagalli to produce a range of ceramics in a style inspired by Italian maiolica, examples of which are on display along with examples of Cantagalli's own work.
Techniques and artistic practices are reflected on with a number of drawings by the uncle and niece. Two bronze sculptures by Evelyn's cousin Gertrude Spencer-Stanhope are also on display - demonstrating what a truly artistic family it was. A curious picture entitled A Soul's Prison House painted by Evelyn using an experimental technique is displayed on her own easel, whilst at its side is her palette and knife.
The exhibition also draws on Cannon Hall's own wonderful collection of Arts and Crafts wares and puts De Morgan's work in context with a display of other Arts and Crafts practitioners from the same era.
You can learn more about the exhibition by downloading the exhibition guide.
Find out more about Cannon Hall's marvellous collections and how to get there by going to their website www.cannon-hall.com