William Frend De Morgan (1839 – 1917)
William Frend De Morgan was an innovative ceramic designer and part of the Arts & Crafts Movement with William Morris. He was born in London to a celebrated mathematician Augustus de Morgan, and Sophia Frend, a campaigner for women’s rights and prison reform.
Having such forward thinking parents, De Morgan was encouraged in his pursuit of all things intellectual and artistic. In 1859 he attended The Royal Academy but soon realised that his interests lay in ceramic design, specifically tiles and stained glass. He began experimenting with new techniques in glazing and firing, as well as decorative skills and inventive use of colour.
In the 1870s he revived and refined the technique of lustreware using a metal deposit in the glaze to create a shimmering, luminous effect. However De Morgan was not a brilliant business man and that along with changing tastes in design meant that his ceramics business folded.
He re-invented himself as a novelist but it is his beautiful and unique ceramic ware for which he is greatly celebrated.