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 began producing tiles for Morris’s business and also designed his own tiles.
Early in his career, De Morgan received a commission to tile the home of artist Frederic Leighton with the Turkish, Persian, and Syrian tiles that 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 four each of the following notecards:
Bird and Honeysuckle Tile Panel, c. 1872–1907
Ruffled BBB Tiles, c. 1872–1907
Castle and Boats Tile Panel, c. 1882–1900
Dragon Tile Panel, c. 1872–1907