The Lost Paintings of Evelyn De Morgan
1st February 2013 - 20th April 2013
Late night viewing: Thursday 7th February 2013
In October 1991 a fire ravaged the Bourlet’s art storage unit where much of the De Morgan Foundation’s art collection was stored. In one night more than 15 paintings by Evelyn De Morgan and many other artworks were tragically destroyed – lost for future generations to admire. This exhibition will display drawings and studies for these lost paintings, alongside colour photographs taken during the preceding years in the art store, giving an unprecedented opportunity to discover more about these extraordinary works of art.
Evelyn De Morgan is renowned for her oil paintings which are abundant with Pre-Raphaelite imagery, spiritualist symbolism and strong feminist undertones, but she also exhibited remarkable skills in drawing. The De Morgan Centre’s collections contain a significant number of Evelyn’s drawings and pastel studies for her paintings, which give a fascinating insight into her creative process.
This exhibition focuses on a small group of rarely seen studies by Evelyn De Morgan which demonstrate her working process – from loose compositional sketches, to detailed anatomical studies (often of both clothed and naked forms in the same pose) and refined and accurate pastel studies for the final work.
Evelyn drew from life using a small pool of models including her maid Jane Hales, family members and professional models. Recurring faces are familiar presences in Evelyn’s work, as demonstrated by two studies of male heads for St Christina Giving her Father’s Jewels to the Poor and The Marriage of St. Francis and the Holy Poverty, which are of the same Italian model. Whilst often intended as studies for large scale thematic paintings, De Morgan’s works on paper also portray a sense of the intimate and familial scale of the artist’s world; delicately executed studies of hands holding props from the artist’s studio for St. Christina Giving her Father’s Jewels to the Poor being a case in point.
This exciting exhibition will open on 1st February 2013, and we invite you to join us for a late night viewing on Thursday February 7th 2013.
curated by Tim Boon and hosted by the De Morgan Centre
26th October - 3rd November 2012
This selling exhibition at the De Morgan Centre, curated by Tim Boon, brings together the works of two eclectic artists, Sandra Eastwood and Jacy Wall.
Sandra Eastwood is a highly skilled potter and an accomplished hand builder of sculptural forms. Her modernist patterns and designs are inspired by the musical compositions of Bach, Stravinsky and Shostakovich amongst others, as well the diverse melodic phrases of jazz, blues and gospel music. Her aptitude in mathematics is also evident in her creative output: she is inspired by Fibonacci patterns observed in nature, in pine cones, sunflowers and seashells.
Her output reduced to a trickle during the latter part of the past decade as she underwent courses of chemotherapy to fight a life-threatening form of breast cancer. Happily, she seems to have won the battle and has been back in her workshop since last year, where she has been joyously and determinedly at work making her strikingly patterned, organically inspired ceramic art.
Jacy Wall has a background in constructed textiles and began her career in the medium of woven tapestry, more recently experimenting with painting and printmaking.
Through the theme of patching, mending and repairing, skills she venerates, though derided in the past as “woman’s work”, Wall explores her emotional responses to the past and women’s role within the domestic sphere in her celebration of the deterioration of used and cherished objects.
'I do not aim to romanticise damage. Nor do I wish to delve too deeply into the implied trauma of damage. Merely I wish to acknowledge and celebrate the history that it signifies.'
She incorporates her stitchery into weaving and textile compositions, creating a textile that is far freer in design and conception than traditional weaving. In so doing, Wall venerates the ideas of the familiar, everyday object, heritage and inheritance; themes which are particularly resonant in today’s drive for austerity and a revival of the ‘make, do and mend’ philosophy of the 1940s.
The Big Draw comes to the De Morgan Centre in a Drawing Room with a twist
2nd October - 20th October 2012
The Big Draw is a nationwide season of activities aimed at expanding the boundaries of art and engaging communities in creative activities; the theme for 2012 encourages people to explore the universality and power of the line.
We’re excited to be participating in The Big Draw for the first time this year, with an inventive and exciting event that is sure to capture the imagination of all our visitors.
Inspired by the Big Draw theme of ‘lines’, our temporary exhibition space will be transformed into an Arts and Crafts home with a twist. Consisting entirely of drawn outlines and silhouettes, it is up to the visitors to decorate with detail and colour, bringing the room to life, with the help of local artists Susie Prus and Eileen Reed.
In this collaborative project, funded by a Wandsworth Art Grant, you will be encouraged to channel your creativity to draw designs on vases and tiles to decorate the mantel piece and fireplace, draw and colour in stained glass windows, and create curious creatures, beasts and fish to populate the garden and fish pond. We will be inviting local schools to participate and adorn bird cages with three dimensional wire “drawn” birds.
You can wander the gallery to gain inspiration from the beautiful works of William and Evelyn De Morgan, and then try your hand at designing your own patterns in the Drawing Room. You will also be able to interact with the exhibit, rearranging tiles and vases, redecorating the room, and even fishing for creatures in the fish pond!
This exciting exhibition is celebrated with a special drawing event during an exclusive Sunday opening on Sunday 7th October. People of all ages and drawing abilities will be encouraged to contribute their own designs or pieces inspired by the De Morgans, in this event which aims to discover the artist in everyone. Families and young children in particular are encouraged to participate in this exciting drawing event.
Be sure to join us for the De Morgan Centre’s first foray into The Big Draw, and show us your drawing skills!
3rd February - 25th August 2012
Ships, sea monsters, seashores, shells, sirens and sea maidens are all to be discovered in this vibrant exhibition at the De Morgan Centre.
‘Who would not be delighted to go a-sailing in one of Mr De Morgan’s dream-ships’
- Halsey Ricardo
Curated in conjunction with Arts and Crafts property, National Trust Standen, De Morgans and the Sea gives visitors the opportunity to explore maritime influences in the work of the De Morgans. The theme of the sea was a major sourceof inspiration for both William De Morgan’s Arts and Crafts ceramics and his wife Evelyn’s paintings. Medieval galleons manned by sailors on the lookout for giant fish, dolphins and sea monsters form part of William De Morgan’s quirky cast of characters. Evelyn’s paintings of mythological subjects such as Ariadne (looking more stoical than distraught after being abandoned on the island of Naxos by her lover Theseus) or her depictions of Hans Christian Anderson’s much adored little mermaid reinterpret these classic tales for a new audience.
As well as drawing inspiration from the sea, much of De Morgan’s work was destined to travel the waves themselves, as commissions for the P&O shipping line. The superlative Galleon tile panel, designed for the P&O ship S.S.Malta in 1895, will be exhibited alongside key pieces from the De Morgan collection, including a spectacular moonlight lustre punch bowl depicting fanciful fish which represents the pinnacle of De Morgan’s technical prowess, and a very rare, early seahorse tile whose production techniques mirror the matt quality of Morris and Co. tiles. Among Evelyn’s exhibited works are the nude male figures ofPhosphorous and Hesperus, which, imbued with potent sexual symbolism in the form of phallic torches and conch shells, caused scandal and controversy when first exhibited, and the allegorical ‘S.O.S’ with its symbolic sea monsters representing evil and death.
William De Morgan & Fine Cell Work
September 16th - November 3rd 2011