William De Morgan
English, 19th century
Vase, c. 1890
earthenware, lustre, alkaline glaze
46.2 x 22.5 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of an anonymous donor
William De Morgan was one of the most important and influential ceramists of the Victorian age. He was a friend of William Morris and, while he did not wholly embrace the Arts and Crafts movement, it did influence his design aesthetic. De Morgan also turned to Islamic sources (mainly from Iran and Turkey) for elements such as the arabesque, the ogee arch, Sassanian bird motifs, and foliage patterns. This gourd-shaped vase clearly reveals these sources, both in its decorative motifs and lustre glazes. Fred Passenger, who painted this vase, was hired with his brother Charles to execute De Morgan’s designs. They later became partners with De Morgan and continued to use his designs after his retirement in 1907.