De Morgan Centre
The De Morgan Centre for the Study of 19th Century Art and Society was a gallery in the London Borough of Wandsworth, England, which was home for a few years to the De Morgan Collection – a large collection of the work of the Victorian ceramic artist William De Morgan and his wife, the painter Evelyn De Morgan. William De Morgan's work was inspired by Middle Eastern and particularly Iznik ceramics which created in vivid blue and green glazes. De Morgan is also credited with the rediscovery in Victorian Britain of the art of lustre glazes. Evelyn De Morgan's art is notable for her rich use of colour and her emphasis on strong female protagonists. The De Morgans were involved in the social issues of the day such as women's suffrage, and this engagement was covered by the museum.
The De Morgan Collection includes oil paintings, ceramics, drawings and archive material related to the De Morgans and their circle and it was formed by Evelyn De Morgan's sister, Mrs Wilhelmina Stirling, who wrote several books under the name A.M.W. Stirling. Mrs Stirling provided public access to the collection at her home, Old Battersea House until her death in 1965.
In 1967 the De Morgan Foundation, a registered charity, was formed to care for the collection and parts of it were loaned to a number of locations including Cardiff Castle, Cragside in Northumberland and Knightshayes Court in Devon, all of which have interiors from the years when the De Morgans were active.
From 2002 the De Morgan Foundation provided public access to the De Morgan Collection in a dedicated gallery named the De Morgan Centre, which was based in the former West Hill Reference Library in Wandsworth, South West London. The building dates from 1887, which was coincidentally the year in which the De Morgan's were married. The West Hill Library closed on 28 September 2007 and latterly, the De Morgan Foundation shared the building with Wandsworth Museum. Both the De Morgan Centre and Wandsworth Museum closed to the public on 28 June 2014 due to the discontinuation of their lease by the building's freeholder Wandsworth Council.
Since the closure of the De Morgan Centre, the De Morgan Foundation has moved its office to the Watts Gallery at Compton near Guildford in Surrey and continues to care for and exhibit the De Morgan Collection through a series of loans, exhibitions and tours. More information on the De Morgan Collection and where it can be viewed is available on the De Morgan Foundation's website.
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