Over the lockdown, De Morgan has been working with different groups to inspire creativity, encourage learning, and relieve some of the tensions of the past year.
When William De Morgan’s ceramics business closed in 1904, he suffered badly with depression. His wife Evelyn encouraged him to begin writing and he went on to be a best-selling author at the age of 65. The positive impact of creativity on mental health and wellbeing cannot be underestimated. But it also has the additional benefit of producing beautiful things.
Hanelle Levine, Lead Tutor in Visual Arts at Idea Store Learning, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, taught the Arts and Crafts movement to her drawing and painting classes. Hanelle contacted Sarah Hardy, curator of the De Morgan Foundation who kindly delivered an art historical talk to the group. Students became even more inspired with their creative works and are delighted, at Sarah’s invitation, to share some of these completed artworks with the Foundation .
De Morgan Tiles
Pen and Ink, and watercolour on paper
I wanted to adapt the De Morgan red tiles and chose to draw with green ink to see if it altered the impact when viewed altogether. It is a much softer look than the red. The Isnik plate is drawn freehand and painted using watercolour.
A very bright and breezy piece of art with its flying pennants and billowing sails by William De Morgan for The P&O Steamship Company.
The Mystical Zebra
Dodo Inspired Tile
both 22 x 28 cm
As William De Morgan enjoyed painting mystical creatures, I thought I would do a mystical zebra. I loved the patterns and contrast of the black and white colours on a zebra.
I was inspired to do this Dodo tile as I loved the different blue tones and the flowing curved lines of the levers behind the Dodo.
Pegasus and ‘The Twins’ inspired by William Morris’s unicorns
19 x 19 cm and 32 x 14 cm or individually 16 x 14 cm
I like to draw horses, and was inspired by this legend, a horse which brings luck to kings at war and us regular mortals as well, I hope.
I was fascinated by the legend about unicorns, creatures which bring luck in the war and are therefore favoured by kings.
Study Of Classical Drapery
30cm x 23cm
Charcoal and pastel on tinted paper.
Evelyn De Morgan’s studies of drapery are exquisite and inspired me to make a study of my own.
Current restrictions meant that I was unable to draw from life, as she would have done, so instead I chose to work from a photograph I had taken during a trip to the Palatine Museum in Rome.
Sea Dragon Tile
21cm x 21cm
Watercolour and gouache on handmade cotton rag paper.
I have long been inspired by all things oceanic. Studying William De Morgan’s Sea Dragon tile panel was the perfect opportunity to experiment with my own ideas for a ceramic tile design.
I particularly love the beautiful, blue swirling pattern he created for his ocean waves – a perfect backdrop for his regal sea horses and serpents.
My sea creature was loosely inspired by studies I had made of the weedy sea dragon which can found off the coast of southern and eastern Australia.
Copy of tiles by William De Morgan
20x20cm Acrylic on canvas
Nature in Art Tiles with flowers.
25 x 25 cm
I was intrigued by the design of this tile, the curves and arabesques . tiles depicting birds and mythical animals.
Evelyn De Morgan
Pencil on paper
I was attracted to the radical ideas of Evelyn De Morgan and her beautiful paintings.
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