The Arts and Crafts movement’s premier ceramic artist, William De Morgan (1839–1917) was born in London into an intellectual family of French Huguenot descent. Admitted to the Royal Academy Schools in 1859, he got his first career break in 1863 when he met William Morris. De Morgan took over the tile-production side of Morris’s business and soon began designing his own tiles.
Early in his career, De Morgan was commissioned to tile the home of artist Frederic Leighton with the Turkish, Persian, and Syrian tiles Leighton had collected on his travels. The rich and varied Middle Eastern patterns would influence De Morgan throughout his career.
In the 1880s and 1890s, De Morgan’s tiles were prized by the avant-garde; by 1900, they were considered old-fashioned. In any case, tiles had never provided De Morgan a large income. So in 1904, at age sixty-five, he switched careers and took up writing, penning several best-selling novels that ensured his financial security.
Today De Morgan’s ceramics constitute his lasting legacy, and the De Morgan Foundation owns a large collection of his finest work.
Contains five each of the following notecards:
Bedford Park Daisy and Bedford Park Anemone, c. 1875–1907
Carnation, c. 1875–1907
Rose Trellis, c. 1875–1907
Peacock, c. 1875–1907