The Fishing Lesson
William De Morgan
Ceramic charger, hand painted in Persian colours
14½ in (37 cm) diameter
inscribed verso“W.de.M Fulham, 24, 2195, c.p” (monogram of Charles Passenger decorator)
Collection: John Scott
Source: Masterpieces from the John Scott Collection.
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“‘I like de Morgan as his designs can be recognised easily; they go together and he is particularly adept with animals and oft times has a charming whimsical gesture. This charger is excellently fired and with fish. I have another charger with two winged lions.’” — John Scott
De Morgan perfected his Persian glazes whilst working to restore the Arab Hall at Leighton House in the late 1870s. His ‘Persian-style’ pottery was amongst the most successful and easily recognisable products of the British Arts and Crafts Movement. De Morgan imbued his designs with humour and originality mixing inspiration for imagery from Romanesque, Medieval and Italian Renaissance fantastical beasts, Hispanic ships, Persian motifs and floral designs reminiscent of his colleague and close friend William Morris.
The influence of Middle Eastern art on British design in the late nineteenth century was considerable. Owen Jones’s Alhambra (1836–45) and Grammar of Ornament (1856) helped spread the understanding of Persian and eastern design principles and motifs. Manufacturers such as Minton & Co. and Theodore Deck, in France, took up the style.
Gere, Charlotte, & Michael Whiteway. Nineteenth Century Design: from Pugin to Mackintosh. London 1993. p.211, pl.26.
Greenwood, Martin. The Designs of William de Morgan. Shepton Beauchamp, 1989. p.214 pl.82–83 for the drawing (from the V&A Collection) and a version of same design in ruby lustre.
Masterpieces from the John Scott Collection. London: The Fine Art Society, No. 10.
Last modified 23 May 2014