Art History, Artists, On this day..., Painters, Pre-Raphaelite

On this day… was born Evelyn de Morgan

Evelyn de Morgan was an English painter, born Evelyn Pickering, changing her name in 1887, when she married the ceramist William De Morgan. Her works were very influenced by the style of the Pre-Raphaelite art. She was a follower of the Edward Burne-Jones (a painter of the later phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement) paintings.

In her paintings she preferred biblical, mythological (I wrote a post about one of her mythological paintings, you can read it here) and literary themes, as well as the role of women or allegories of war. The use of light/darkness, life/death in her work had a metaphorical value.

Ariadne in Naxos (Photo credit: De Morgan Foundation)

She started her drawing lessons when she was 15. She was enrolled at the Slade School of Fine Art; and she was a pupil of her uncle John Roddam Spencer Stanhope, this started when she visited him in Florence in 1875, this visit enables her to study the greatest artists of Italian Renaissance, she was an admirer of Botticelli’s work.

Innovative techniques

Evelyn and her husband developed a different way of using paint. To produce clarity of colour they mixed the paint with glycerine. The early Pre-Raphaelite painters started painting on white to accentuate colour, getting the effect you want by manipulating the medium.

The Morgan Foundation

According to the website:

“The De Morgan Foundation is a registered independent charity that receives no revenue funding from the government. We rely on the generosity of our Friends and supporters to care for the De Morgan Collection and to continue our programme of exhibitions, loans, education and research. All our income goes towards supporting the Foundation in managing the care of the De Morgan Collection, loans, tours and research and educational activities.”

The foundation owns an unparalleled collection of ceramics and paintings by Evelyn de Morgan and her husband William. Also, the foundation cares for the collection and enables access to these works through exhibitions and a programme of loans.

The Angel of Death (Photo credit: De Morgan Foundation)


    • To Evelyn and William money was unimportant, so any profits from the sales of Evelyn’s paintings went toward financing the pottery business of her husband; she also contributed with ideas to the ceramics designs.
    • She sold her first work Tobias and the Angel in August 1875.
    • Her first exhibited painting St Catherine of Alexandria was shown at the Dudley Gallery in 1876.


3 thoughts on “On this day… was born Evelyn de Morgan”

  1. I, too, like Evelyn de Morgan, and have included her in some posts in the past. One of the things I appreciate about her is the dignified way in which she portrays women. She also shows them dressed far more than many of the Pre-Raphaelites did. That was an interesting fact you revealed about her development of color.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree with you. I am preparing a post comparing her works with other Pre-Raphaelites.
      Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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