Voyages Of Discovery: The De Morgans And The Sea

From February 3rd to August 25th 2012 at The De Morgan Centre

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Seabirds and Fish dish
Designed by: William De Morgan
© De Morgan Foundation

De Morgan Centre

Wandsworth Museum

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Ships, sea monsters, seashores, shells, sirens and sea maidens are all to be discovered in this vibrant exhibition at The De Morgan Centre. De Morgans and the Sea will run from February 3rd 2012 to 25th August 2012.

Curated in conjunction with Arts and Crafts property, National Trust Standen, De Morgans and the Sea gives visitors the opportunity to explore maritime influences in the work of the De Morgans. The theme of the sea was a major source of inspiration for both William De Morgan’s Arts and Crafts ceramics and his wife Evelyn’s paintings. Medieval galleons manned by sailors on the lookout for giant fish, dolphins and sea monsters form part of William De Morgan’s quirky cast of characters.  Evelyn’s paintings of mythological subjects such as Ariadne (looking more stoical than distraught after being abandoned on the island of Naxos by her lover Theseus) or her depictions of Hans Christian Anderson’s much adored little mermaid reinterpret these classic tales for a new audience.
 
As well as drawing inspiration  from the sea, much of De Morgan’s work was destined to travel the waves themselves, as commissions for the P&O shipping line. The superlative Galleon tile panel, designed for the P&O ship S.S.Malta in 1895, will be exhibited alongside key pieces from the De Morgan collection, including a spectacular moonlight lustre punch bowl depicting fanciful fish which represents the pinnacle of De Morgan’s technical prowess, and a very rare, early seahorse tile whose production techniques mirror the matt quality of Morris and Co. tiles. Among Evelyn’s exhibited works are the nude male figures
of Phosphorous and Hesperus, which, imbued with potent sexual symbolism in the form of phallic torches and conch shells, caused scandal and controversy when first exhibited, and the allegorical ‘S.O.S’ with its symbolic sea monsters representing evil and death.
 

Galleon and Dolphin Punch bowl
Designed by William De Morgan  © De Morgan Foundation

 

Thursday Late Views
From February 2012, the Centre will be open until 9pm on the first Thursday of every month, giving visitors even more opportunity to experiencing this enchanting exhibition and the Centre’s collection.





William De Morgan, Galleon Tile Panel designed for the s.s.Malta, 1895 © De Morgan Foundation

December 17, 2011