Lustre pottery dish, made by William De Morgan


British Museum

British Museum
London, United Kingdom

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.


  • Title: Lustre pottery dish, made by William De Morgan
  • Date Created: 1880/1880
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 5.20cm; Diameter: 36.00cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: painted; lustred; tin-glazed; slipped
  • Subject: mammal; leaf; fruit; tree/bush
  • Registration number: 1928,0725.1.CR
  • Production place: Made in Staffordshire. Decorated in Chelsea
  • Producer: Designed by De Morgan, William Frend. Decorated by Orange House Pottery
  • Material: earthenware
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Bequeathed by Ricardo, Halsey Ralph

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