The De Morgan Centre in Wandsworth is closing due to the termination of its tenancy agreement and is now looking for a new home to house its unique collection of Arts and Crafts paintings and ceramics. The De Morgan Foundation’s collection is of national importance and consists of more than 50 oil paintings by later pre-Raphaelite artist Evelyn De Morgan and over 1000 ceramics by the iconic Arts and Crafts potter William De Morgan. Since 2002 the De Morgan Foundation has operated the De Morgan Centre in a former library building in Wandsworth, South West London. The Foundation’s activities at the De Morgan Centre over the past twelve years have highlighted the cultural and artistic importance of its collection, as well as engaging the local and wider community through education, outreach, events and exhibitions. Chairman Paul Jackson explains: ‘Our priorities at this time are safeguarding and maintaining the collection and its identity for the future, and guaranteeing that public access to the works of William and Evelyn De Morgan continues.’ A number of proposed object loans to other museums and cultural institutions will ensure that a selection of the ceramics and oil paintings in the Foundation’s possession will remain accessible to the public. The Foundation will relocate to new office space to continue essential activities and work towards finding a new home.
Mr Jackson states: ‘The directors and our dedicated staff and volunteers have worked hard over the last decade to create an enduring cultural legacy. We are provides a wealth of information about the De Morgans and their work that will continue to be a valuable resource for students, researchers and art enthusiasts.’
He continues: ‘This is not the first time the Foundation has faced this situation; we’ve overcome similar challenges in the past and we have no doubt that we will do so this time. We are grateful to all who have supported us at our Wandsworth home and hope for their continued support and encouragement as we move onto our next stage.’
The final opportunity for the public to view the gallery at West Hill, Wandsworth will be Saturday 28th June. The Foundation’s developments can be followed on their website and through Facebook and Twitter updates. Individuals or organisations interested in assisting and supporting the Foundation’s work are encouraged to contact the Curator Claire Longworth engaged in some exciting collaborative projects, and our website.
De Morgan Centre
The De Morgan Centre is a museum and gallery in the London Borough of Wandsworth, England, that houses a large collection of the work of the Victorian ceramic artist William De Morgan and his wife, the painter Evelyn De Morgan. The De Morgans were important figures in the Arts and Craft Movement and were also involved in the social issues of the day such as women's suffrage and education.
The collection was formed by Evelyn De Morgan's sister, Mrs Wilhelmina Stirling, who wrote several books under the name A.M.W. Stirling. It had previously been on display at her home, Old Battersea House. In the years following her death in 1965, parts of the collection were displayed at a number of locations including Cardiff Castle, Cragside in Northumberland and Knightshayes Court in Devon, all of which have interiors from the years when the De Morgans were active. In 2002, the collection was rehoused at the former West Hill Reference Library in Wandsworth, in south west London, which dates from 1887. In 2009 the De Morgan Centre was faced with the threat of closure when local council’s cost cutting measures led to the library being closed. Since 2011 the Foundation has been subletting from Wandsworth Museum which holds the lease of the building with Wandsworth Council. Wandsworth Museum terminated the Centre’s arrangement to sublet in 2014, as the Museum itself is also relocating shortly.
The Foundation has a Friends Membership scheme which offers individuals the opportunity to support its activities, participate in group events and visits to relevant institutions, and receive newsletters and regular mailings. Please see www.demorgan.org.uk/shop/friends-membership for more details.
The Foundation gratefully welcomes communications from individuals or organisations wishing to provide support, advocacy or assistance, or contribute backing for necessary activities and conservation work to the collections. De Morgans and the Sea, a loan exhibition exploring influences of the sea in the works of William and Evelyn De Morgan, will be on display at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum in Bournemouth until 28th September 2014.
Information about the Centre and the exhibition
The De Morgan Centre
38 West Hill
T: 020 8871 1144
Opening hours until 28 June 2014:
Tuesday – Friday 11pm – 4pm
Saturday 11am – 5pm
Art Fund Members free
Last modified 5 June 2014