Monday, October 14, 2013

The Home Beautiful: The De Morgan Punch Bowl, 1900

The De Morgan Punch Bowl
De Morgan Pottery
The Victoria & Albert Museum

No, this is not a bowl for Mr. Punch to sit in, it’s a bowl from which Mr. Punch could have enjoyed a glass of punch.

This rather monumental bowl was described on its acquisition as a punch bowl but it was certainly never used as such. It’s lived a more decorative life than a practical one.
  The bowl’s large size made it a perfect medium for scenic decoration and the subject matter of the design are taken from the celebrated Hispano-Moresque ship bowls of Fourteenth Century Malaga.  These ship bowls are among the most prized of ceramics for collectors of such things and museums.

This is the work of William De Morgan (1839-1917) whose ceramics were avidly collected by admirers. De Morgan was a close friend of William Morris (1834-1896) and the two collected ceramics, textiles and other art works from Persia (or, as we now call it, Iran), Turkey and China.  The pair was very much influenced in their own work by the designs of the pieces they collected.

This earthenware bowl is painted in deep turquoise blues and purples, and is an excellent example of De Morgan's "Persian" wares.   De Morgan finished the piece around 1900 at the De Morgan pottery, Sands End, Fulham, London.  It was painted by Frederick Passenger (active  1898-1907).

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