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William Morris, William de Morgan Arts & Crafts Membland Panel Tile

• Condition: Very good
• Price: £650 (approx $900)
• Stock number: 06935

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Restoration top left corner, couple of tiny chips right edge, other minor marks to the rim, surface condition is excellent with just a little rubbing.


Style: Arts & Crafts
• Technique: Painted
• Designer: William Morris
Maker: William de Morgan
Dimensions: 6" x 6"
Date: 1876 (made)


A rare and early William de Morgan panel tile painted in his trademark blues, one of only two found from the panel. On an Architectural Pottery, Poole, Dorset blank as used in his early years at Chelsea.

The Membland Hall tile panels were a collaborative effort between William Morris and William De Morgan and the largest scale panel ever produced by Morris & Co., having dimensions of 36 x 63 inches. Panels were installed side by side in a bathroom at Membland Hall. The Victoria & Albert Museum has a panel one of six that were found unused in Membland Hall.

Extracts from the V&A, more at the link below:

The architect of Membland Hall in Devon commissioned this sumptuous design for bathroom tiles from William Morris (1834-1896). Morris had the tiles painted in the studios of William de Morgan (1839-1917). They represent a rare collaboration between these two creative geniuses.

Historical significance: It is the only floral pattern for a tile panel on this scale by Morris. Presumably its ambitious size (of sixty-six individual tiles) and the need to produce a matching set suggested that he should turn to the better equipped De Morgan for its production. The design remained on Morris & Co.'s stocklists until 1912-13 and a number of panels, other than the Membland six, are known to have been made.

To my mind the Architectural Pottery blanks are the best used by de Morgan, always square and semi-vitrified, when unglazed used for pavements hard wearing and frost resistant. In discussion with a well known collector about the use of the blanks he noted that the colours seem to run in to the glaze more often on them, it certainly isn't the case with this example.

What sets this apart from other tiles of his that I have seen is the quality of the painting so finely is it done, so remarkably is it painted that it carries the sense of being painted by the designer rather than a painter on piecework. Given the importance of the panels, the client and that several were made for the same installation it is likely that they were all painted by the same hand that likely being of de Morgan himself.

Verso very clean, Architectural Pottery redware blank.


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