Lustre pottery dish, made by William De Morgan

The Orange House Pottery, Chelsea, London, England, AD 1880

The multi-talented William De Morgan (1839-1917) began his career as a painter and stained glass artist, and became a famous novelist in later life. He devoted the years 1869 to 1907 to making pottery. He was a friend of William Morris (1834-96), and produced hand-decorated tiles and ceramics that complemented Morris's textiles and wallpapers. They were often used in Arts and Crafts interiors. This dish is a particularly good example of De Morgan's work. It was originally owned by the architect Halsey Ricardo (1854-1928), a close friend and associate of De Morgan.

De Morgan's greatest source of inspiration was Islamic design. Sometimes he drew directly from early Persian ceramics; sometimes he studied European pottery that had been influenced by Islamic art, particularly fifteenth-century Spanish tin-glazed pottery. This bowl was clearly inspired by Spanish dishes painted with animal motifs. The vivid copper red lustre used for the decoration, however, was derived from a type of Italian maiolica (another form of tin-glazed earthenware) made at Gubbio in Italy during the sixteenth century.

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More information


J. Rudoe, Decorative arts 1850-1950: a c, 2nd ed. (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)

M. Greenwood, The designs of William De Morg (Shepton Beauchamp, 1989)

J. Catleugh, William De Morgan tiles (London, Trefoil, 1983)

W. Gaunt and M.D.E Claydon-Stamm, William De Morgan (London, 1971)


Height: 5.200 cm
Diameter: 36.000 cm

Museum number

M&ME 1928,7-25,1


Bequeathed by Halsey Ralph Ricardo


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