De Morgan Foundation

De Morgan Foundation

At a glance

Causes

  • Arts
  • Museums / heritage

Other details

Organisation type: 
Charity
Geographical remit: 
National - Britain

Objectives

The De Morgan Foundation is an independent charity which owns and cares for the De Morgan Collection, the largest single collection of artworks by William and Evelyn De Morgan, a husband and wife duo who were key proponents of the Arts & Crafts Movement in the late 19th and early 20th Century, the only home-grown British art movement.  It comprises 60 oil paintings, over 600 works on paper, and over 700 ceramics. 

We run our own small museum at at Cannon Hall in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, where the Foundation is also headquartered.  Cannon Hall was once the family home of Evelyn De Morgan's maternal ancestors, the Spencer Stanhopes. We employ one full-time member of staff, the Director of the De Morgan Museum, supported by a small team of volunteers.

The charitable purpose of the De Morgan Foundation is to safeguard, maintain and make available to the public the De Morgan Collection and to promote the appreciation of art and education in art and allied subjects.

We have long-term partnership and loan agreements with complementary cultural and heritage organisations across the UK.  We also offer short-term loans of a small number of objects to other cultural institutions for externally curated exhibitions, both in the UK and internationally, as well as ready-to-install exhibition packages curated by the Foundation for hire by cultural venues. 

 

William and Evelyn De Morgan were both highly respected artists in their own right. They married in 1887 and, while each continued to practise their own work, in addition to their art they jointly became involved in many of the leading issues of the day including the suffragette movement, prison reform, pacifism and spiritualism.

William De Morgan was probably the most important ceramic artist of the Arts & Crafts Movement and throughout his life he had many connections with the circle of Arts & Crafts artists and designers. He rediscovered the lost art of lustre decoration and the brilliant colours of Islamic pottery, particularly the bright turquoise which features prominently in his ceramic work, and he was especially inspired by Isnik work of the 16th century.  He began his artistic career working alongside contemporaries William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, before opening his own potter’s studio in Chelsea. He worked primarily as a ceramic designer and during his career he worked on a range of commissions, from stately homes to the Czar of Russia’s yacht, and his tiles decorated the public rooms and corridors of several P&O Liners. After his pottery closed in 1904 he embarked on a career as a novelist and published seven novels, all of which enjoyed enormous success.

Evelyn De Morgan was inspired to become an artist by her uncle, the symbolist painter John Roddam Spencer Stanhope. In 1873 she was one of the first women to attend the recently opened Slade School of Art. Her years at The Slade were successful and she won many medals and awards at the Slade and as an up-and-coming young artist was invited to exhibit at the opening exhibition of the influential Grosvenor Gallery, alongside such established names as Edward Burne-Jones, G F Watts and Lawrence Alma-Tadema.

 

Activities

The De Morgan Foundation cares for the De Morgan Collection and enables public access to the artworks through its own museum, through a programme of tours, loans, and exhibitions. We run talks and events to engage, inform, and inspire visitors, both in our galleries and online, ans around the world.

In line with our values, we provide an engaging visitor experience for both adults and children, encouraging learning and discovery, and use the collection to inspire and enhance people’s lives.  We are friendly and welcoming.  We offer everyone the keys to unlock the collection to enjoy it for themselves.  We work in collaboration with others to display the collection and remove barriers to access. We build expertise and knowledge, actively researching the collection and engaging with others to ensure we continue to be the world’s leading authority on the life and work of the De Morgans.  We preserve and share the beautiful collection of jewel-like paintings, lustrous ceramics, and delicate drawings, which is at the heart of everything we do. 
 

 

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