Wanted: a home for Victorian artists
The De Morgan Foundation is looking for a new home after Wandsworth Council terminated its lease
By Martin Bailey. Museums, Issue 215, July-August 2010
Published online: 12 August 2010
LONDON. The De Morgan Foundation, which owns the finest collection of ceramics by William De Morgan and paintings by his wife Evelyn, is looking for a new home. In July 2009 it had to close its gallery in southwest London after Wandsworth Council terminated its lease in a former library building. Its office will have to move out in July next year. Partly because of its location outside of central London, visitor numbers were low (3,600 in 2008), despite free admission.
Talks on an alternative gallery space have been held with Lambeth Council, the Watts Gallery in Surrey and other venues, but these have fallen through.
The De Morgan Foundation is investigating other options, and curator Claire Longworth says she is confident that an appropriate gallery space will be found, hopefully in London.
Its collection comprises more than 1,000 ceramics (most of which had been on display), 500 works on paper and 60 paintings of the late 19th and early 20th century. These were donated by Wilhelmina Stirling (sister of William De Morgan’s artist wife Evelyn who died in 1965). Initially, some of the collection was shown in the London home of US publisher Malcolm Forbes. The Foundation’s ceramics are currently being toured in Japan, with the next venue being the Inax Tile Museum, in Aichi, in October.
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