- What’s On
In celebration of their new partnership with the De Morgan Foundation, Cromwell Place (five grade II listed houses in South Kensington transformed into an imaginative exhibition and arts venue) is hosting an exhibition of work by William and Evelyn De Morgan, the Victorian/Edwarding artistic duo who pioneered of the Arts and Crafts movement. The exhibition of William De Morgan’s ‘lustrous ceramics and his wife’s beautiful, jewel like Pre-Raphaelite canvases marks a fitting return to Chelsea for two artists whose careers were inextricably linked to the area.
Growing up as the eldest child of a liberal family, William De Morgan expressed an interest in liberal arts from a young age. Despite his father’s protests, he began his formal art training alongside artist Stephen Francis Cary at his art academy in Bloomsbury. He graduated from the Royal Academy of Arts in London where he studied fine art under British architect and designer Charles Eastlake from 1859 – 1863 and became a potter. Find out more about his work as Caroline Juler explores De Morgan’s Iznik inspired tile work at Leighton House in Leighton’s Orient in Cornucopia 10.
In 1887, he married Evelyn Pickering, who was an established artist associated with the Pre-Raphaelites at the time. Her paintings are figural, often depicting spiritual, mythological, and allegorical themes. In her paintings, light and darkness, transformation, and bondage are recurring metaphors which led to them being considered as spiritual and feminist. After their marriage, William and Evelyn De Morgan moved to their first home at 1 The Vale, Kings Road, Chelsea. The area was familiar to both, since William’s first pottery business was at his home at 7 Cheyne Row, and Evelyn had her studio at 17a Edith Grove.
Cromwell Place’s highlights from the exhibition are ‘Night and Sleep’ (1878) by Evelyn De Morgan, WIlliam De Morgan’s charming ‘Parrot Tile Panels’ (1888–1904), a leaflet celebrating the Blue Plaque on the De Morgans home at 127 Old Church Street, and an exhibition catalogue of Evelyn De Morgan’s 1916 exhibition at her studio.