Tile panel with blue peacocks
William De Morgan & Co., maker, London, Fulham, Sands End Pottery, probably
De Morgan, William Frend, designer, British artist, 1832-1917, London
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.
De Morgan produced tiles and lustre-ware in Chelsea from 1872, and at Merton Abbey (next door to Morris’s factory) from 1882-8. From 1888-98 he set up at Sands End, Fulham, in partnership with the architect Halsey Ricardo (1854-1928), continuing from 1898-1907 with his kiln-master Frank Iles and decorators Charles and Fred Passenger as his partners. De Morgan made many, many designs for tiles and tile panels – some 820 are in the V&A collection. There exists a near-identical, though differently coloured, peacock panel, made at Sands End (see Greenwood). The same fish design and a different peacock scene were used, c.1904-1907, for the winter garden at 8 Addison Road, West London, a house designed by Halsey Ricardo for the retailer Sir Ernest Debenham.
earthenware; Art Pottery
circa 1888 1898
Arts and Crafts (movement)
late 19th Century
Panel of eight large central tiles surrounded by a border of twelve rectangular tiles and four corner tiles. Earthenware, slip-coated, trace-transfered in 'Persian' colours, and clear-glazed. The central panel, painted in blue, turquoise-blue, green, yellow,pale orange, and brown on a white ground, shows two facing peacocks amid foliage, bordered above and below by fish swimming in a deep blue sea. The borders consist of Islamic, Persian style arches with fleur-de-lis and swirls, in light blue, dark blue and manganese red.
slip-coating; whole; white
glazing (coating); decoration; probably lead-glaze
glaze; front; clear
earthenware, slip-coated, decorated with a traced-transfer design and clear-glazed
length, whole, 87.3, cm
width, whole, 51, cm
given; 1976-01-29; The Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum
Purchased from Michael Whiteway, London W8
This tile picture was reproduced on a notecard for sale in the Museum Shop, 2005.
Given by the Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum
, The Fitzwilliam Museum1976. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. The Annual Reports of the Syndicate and of the Friends of the Fitzwilliam for the Year ending 31 December 1975.Cambridge (Cambs.):
Publ. plate VIII
, The Fitzwilliam Museum1982. Treasures of the Fitzwilliam Museum.Cambridge (Cambs.): Pevensey Pressp. p. 99
Publ. Illustrated in colour, p. 99, no. 102
Poole, Julia E.. 1995. Fitzwilliam Museum Handbooks, English Pottery.Cambridge (Cambs.): Cambridge University Pressp. pp. 120-1
Publ. Illustrated in colour, pp. 120-1, no. 55
Gaunt, W.. Clayton-Stamm, M.D.E.. 1971. William De Morgan.London?: p. 82
Cf. Figs 58 and 57: the same fish design, and a different peacock scene, used for Lord Debenham’s winter garden at 8 Addison Road, West London, in 1906.
Greenwood, Martin. 1989. The Designs of William De Morgan.Ilminster: p. 187, 250
Cf. p..250, Plate 336: a six tile panel, 21 x 16 in, c.1890, marked ‘Sands End’, with two peacocks in shades of brown against blue floral decoration. This appears to have been made from the same design as the Fitzwilliam panel, though omitting the fish frieze (collection of the Hammersmith & Fulham Libraries/ Museum of London). Also, p.187, design for a fish frieze; pp.166,183 other designs for panels with peacocks and fish.
Catleugh, Jon. 1983. William De Morgan Tiles.London?: p. 127-76
See Alan Caiger-Smith on 'De Morgan's Technique' where the traced transfer process is described.
Lloyd Thomas, E.. 1974. Victorian Art Pottery.London?: p. p. 179
Cf. p. 179, fig. 15
Anscombe, Isabelle. Gere, Charlotte. 1978. Arts and Crafts in Britain and America.London: p. p. 81
Publ. Illustrated, p. 81, pl. 88. Described as Early Fulham Period, 1887-89
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
Cf. Plates 6 and 7: a vase and a dish with similar fish and peackock designs, Fulham period.
Richards, Peter. 2004. Earth and Fire.Cambridge (Cambs.): University of Cambridge Development Office
Source Title: Cam, Cambridge Alumni Magazine 42 (Easter Term-2004) : 26-29
Publ. p. 29 short text with colour illustration
EC.4-1941; Tile panel with dragon-bird grotesques
EC.7-1941; Tile with ‘Clyde’ daisy design (2)
EC.8-1941; Tile with ‘Clyde’ daisy design (1)
AAL.16-1990; Vase with blue foliate design
AAL.15-1990; Dish with galleon and fish
Object Number: C.1-1976
(record id: 15381; input: 2000-11-02; modified: 2014-01-06)