Out on the tiles - Victorian Style
William De Morgan
William De Morgan was the most influential ceramic artist of the Arts & Crafts Movement and possibly the most innovative of the 19th Century.
William De Morgan came from a family that was at the forefront of educational and social reform. His father, Augustus De Morgan was Professor of Mathematics at University College, London. His mother, Sofia Elizabeth Frend supported prison reform, religious freedom and women's suffrage and was involved with her husband in the setting up of Bedford College for Women. This creative and intellectual environment shaped De Morganís approach to life and his work as a designer.
William De Morgan was admitted to the Royal Academy Schools in London to study painting in 1859. He began to investigate and experiment with glass two years later. It is unclear at what point De Morgan gave up stained glass and concentrated completely on ceramics, but certainly by the end of the 1860s there was a huge demand for tiles and he took advantage of the fact.
He was introduced to William Morris in 1863 by Henry Holliday, a contemporary from the Royal Academy Schools. He started collaborating with Morris & Co soon after. He set up his own pottery at home in 1872 and moved to Merton Abbey , near the workshops of William Morris, in 1882.
William De Morgan worked in an unorthodox way for his time, he had very little to do with the pottery industry, his desire to work in a hands-on way meant he created works of art that adhered to the principles of the Arts & Crafts Movement.
William De Morgan ended his career as a potter in 1907 and died ten years later on 15 January 1917.
You can down load a factsheet on William De Morgan's working methods, (click on the Worksheet/files link below).
See where William De Morgan lived at Merton Abbey.»