Highlights from the De Morgan Collection are currently on display at the Watts Gallery in Surrey.
The De Morgans were close friends and associates of George Frederic and Mary Watts and often visited Limnerslease. William advised Mary on the construction of the Compton Pottery kiln which she built in the grounds of Limnerslease and he also collaborated with Watts on his memorial to everyday heroes in Postman’s Park, in London. Watts famously declared of Evelyn that "I look upon her as the first woman artist of the day — if not of all time". Many parallels can be drawn between the two artists’ work, where their shared interests in subjects such as mythology, spiritualism, psychical research and social improvement collide.
A selection of work highlighting different aspects of Evelyn's oeuvre on display. Created shortly after Evelyn left the Slade School of art, Ariadne in Naxos is painted in a neo classical style. Whereas the dramatically dynamic The Storm Spirits (right) is executed in a style much more reminiscent of Edward Burne-Jones and the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Evelyn's sensitive portrayal of The Angel of Death I is an example of the theme which would dominate her career in her later years - that of death and the preparation of the soul's ascent to heaven.
The work of Evelyn's husband William is also featured in the exhibition and of particular note are the fabulous golden peacock plate and a large bottle vase, decorated in the Persian style with foliage in vivid blue and green tones, for which he is best known. Centre place however is the magnificent galleon tile picture which was commissioned by P&O to adorn the walls of one of their passenger ships (below).
To learn more about the works in the exhibition you can download this pdf.
To find out what else to see at the Watts Gallery and how to get there go to www.wattsgallery.org.uk