William Frend De Morgan (1839-1917) was one of the most important potters of the late nineteenth century, an innovator both in design and technique. A recent writer said of him "that he was an artist in the true sense of the word...distinguishes his work from the mass of Victorian pottery." De Morgan was the friend of William Morris and Burne Jones, and was involved in the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society. His interests in the traditions of artisanship, his mastery of a range of skills, including stained glass and pottery, and his breadth of vision make him the archetype of the Victorian artist/craftsman.
His great specialty, however, was designing tiles, decorated with vivid patterns of leaves and flowers, birds and monsters, ships and animals. The designs are derived from a variety of sources but share a vigorous individuality, carefully related to the rhythms of tile design, and the different uses - such as fireplaces and dados - to which tiles were put. His wide range of design sources is matched by his interest in different potting and glazing techniques. Though his business was not financially a success the tiles that he produced were much appreciated in the nineteenth century, and appeal today to a growing group of collectors and ceramic experts and practitioners.
This book contains three essays. The first, by Elisabeth Aslin, puts De Morgan's achievement as a tile designer into the framework of the nineteenth century revival of interest in tile design and the history of the craft. The second, written by Jon Catleugh, a trustee of the De Morgan Foundation, details De Morgan's design sources and types of design, and in the third essay Alan Caiger Smith discusses De Morgan's technical innovations and pottery methods. The result is both a rounded portrait of a master craftsman at work and a detailed study of his achievement, illustrated with over 250 illustrations and 24 pages of colour, and so comprising an exhaustive catalogue of De Morgan's tile designs, with a wide range of examples of different colours and glazes.
Format: Paperback, 184 pages
Dimensions: 19.6 x 23 x 1.5cm
Publisher: Richard Dennis
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