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Ruby lustre tile with fantastic beast: EC.6-1941

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Ruby lustre tile with fantastic beast


Maker: William De Morgan & Co.
Designer: Ricardo, Halsey ((probably))




Large buff earthenware tile, moulded in relief, partly slip-coated, glazed and painted in ruby lustre. A leaping fantasy beast faces right; five feathers or horns rise from its head, like a crown. Above left is a palm-like tree, with other stylised foliage filling spaces across the surface. The whole surface is glazed and most is painted with ruby lustre; but parts of the raised surface have been left unpainted, giving buff highlights to the tree and crown and accentuating the modelling of the beast, and the raised surface has been further decorated with a darker tone of ruby lustre. There are some white glaze drips on the top and left sides, otherwise the sides and reverse are unglazed.

Legal notes

Given by Mr H C Mossop, 1941

Measurements and weight

Depth: 1 cm
Depth: 0.375 in
Sides: 22.8 cm
Sides: 9 in

Place(s) associated

  • Fulham ⪼ London ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1941-03-26) by Mossop, H. C.


Late 19th Century
1888 CE - 1897 CE


William Frend De Morgan (1839-1917), now widely regarded as the most important ceramicist of the Arts & Crafts movement, also worked in stained glass and became a successful novelist. The son of a non-conformist mathematics professor, he became a close friend of William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones and married the Pre-Raphaelite painter Evelyn Pickering (1855-1919), in 1887. As a ceramicist, De Morgan was primarily a designer/decorator and chemist, working on bought-in blanks or pots thrown to his design. He experimented widely with techniques and glazes, re-discovering methods for making and applying lustres and the colours of Iznik and Persian pottery and using them for a range of complex fantasy designs featuring ships, birds, flora and animals. This design dates from 1888-1898, when he worked in partnership with the architect Halsey Ricardo, at Sands End Fulham. Ricardo (1854-1928) was particularly interested in the use of glazed materials on buildings, to resist the pollution of 19th century London. He made a number of designs for tiles and tile panels made by De Morgan, including several which were moulded in high relief, probably including this design (sometimes produced in gold lustre or ruby lustre on white ground and/or facing left). As the tile is large and has no horizontal or vertical repeat, it may have been made for display in a frame. Some 820 De Morgan tile designs, including a few by Ricardo, are in the V&A collection.

School or Style

Arts and Crafts (movement)

Components of the work

Decoration composed of lustre ( ruby) glaze

Materials used in production

buff-coloured Earthenware

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: large, circular rosette mark

  • Location: On the back
  • Method of creation: Impressed
  • Type: Mark
  • Text: 1941 / 6
  • Method of creation: Circular paper label inscribed in black ink
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: EC.6-1941
Primary reference Number: 15320
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Wednesday 24 March 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2022) "Ruby lustre tile with fantastic beast" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-12-08 16:08:13

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