Tile with ‘Clyde’ daisy design (2)
William De Morgan & Co., maker, London, Merton Abbey, .
De Morgan, William Frend, designer, British artist, 1832-1917
William Frend De Morgan (1839-1917), now widely regarded as the most important ceramicist of the Arts & Crafts movement, also worked in stained glass and became a successful novelist. The son of a non-conformist mathematics professor, he became a close friend of William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones and married the Pre-Raphaelite painter Evelyn Pickering (1855-1919), in 1887. As a ceramicist, De Morgan was primarily a designer/decorator and chemist, working on bought-in blanks or pots thrown to his design. He experimented widely with techniques and glazes, re-discovering methods for making and applying lustres and the colours of Iznik and Persian pottery and using them for a range of complex fantasy designs featuring ships, birds, flora and animals. This tile has been produced using De Morgan’s invention of tracing and painting the design onto paper which burned away in the kiln, leaving the design fixed under the glaze.
This tile dates from 1882-88, when De Morgan’s workshop was at Merton Abbey, next door to Morris’s factory. The coarse earthenware and rough sides indicate that the tile was intended for a fireplace or other architectural use. The flowing naturalism suggests it is an early design, perhaps influenced by Morris’s work; De Morgan’s later tile designs were more stylised and symmetrical. He made many, many designs for tiles and tile panels – some 820, including this one, are in the V&A collection – and transferred them using his own innovative transfer method which allowed repeats to be made whilst preserving a ‘hand-made’ quality. There are two tiles of this design in the Fitzwilliam collection, which illustrate the experimental nature of De Morgan’s work. Here the transfer design has blurred; it has been more successfully applied on the other example (C.8-1941).
earthenware; Art Pottery
(design may be earlier)
Arts and Crafts (movement)
late 19th Century
Square, buff, earthenware tile, covered in cream slip, decorated with transfer pattern in blue-black, purple-brown, yellow and shades of green, and glazed. An all-over naturalistic pattern of green leaves, with a diagonal leading stem and four yellow petal, purple-brown centre, daisies. Two of the daisies are shown from the side, with petals bent back. The design is outlined in blue-black, which has smudged in places; the resulting blurred effect is enhanced by a somewhat heavy clear glaze. The tile is thick and the earthenware coarse. There are wide stripes of glaze across the back.
slip-coating; whole; with white slip
clear glaze; whole
buff coloured earthenware, slip-coated, decorated with polychrome transfer pattern and glazed
width, whole, 20.4, cm, square
width, whole, 8, in, square
given; 1941-03-26; Mossop, H.C.
Given by Mr H C Mossop, 1941
De Morgan, Evelyn
Given by Mr H C Mossop, 1941
mark; on reverse; impressed; W DE M Merton Abbey; Large, square, one ‘M’ serving both parts and a drawing of an abbey church; factory mark for W DE M at Merton Abbey 1882-2
Gaunt, W.. Clayton-Stamm, M.D.E.. 1971. William De Morgan.London?: p. pp. 22, 166
Ref. For mark, p. 166 fig. f. Details of decorating method, p. 22
Greenwood, Martin. 1989. The Designs of William De Morgan.Ilminster: p. 163
Cf. a tile or tile-panel design inscribed ‘Clyde’, green, red & orange, 28 x 20.4cm (11 x 8 in), V&A no. E.1541-1917. The design is identical, but rectangular, so only part of it has been used on the tile, and the pattern has been reversed in transferring it to the tile.
Catleugh, Jon. 1983. William De Morgan Tiles.London?:
Cf. other tile designs, and examples of Morris’s work.
Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House. 2002. The Ceramics of William De Morgan.Bowness-on-Windermere: Lakeland Arts Trust
1972. William De Morgan (1839-1917): an exhibition organised by the Friends of Leighton House, Leighton House, 18 May-24 June, London: De Morgan Foundation, 197.London: De Morgan Foundation
EC.8-1941; Tile with ‘Clyde’ daisy design (1)
EC.5-1941; Tile with five ruby birds
EC.6-1941; Ruby lustre tile with fantastic beast
EC.9-1941; Tile with fantastic ducks design
EC.10-1941; Tile with ‘raised lion’ design
EC.13-1941; Tile with scrolling fern design
C.144-1933; Tile with dragon design
C.1-1976; Tile panel with blue peacocks
EC.4-1941; Tile panel with dragon-bird grotesques
Object Number: EC.7-1941
(record id: 15325; input: 2000-11-02; modified: 2014-01-15)