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Tile with fantastic ducks design: EC.9-1941

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 27 (Glaisher)


Tile with fantastic ducks design


Maker: William De Morgan & Co.
Designer: De Morgan, William Frend




Square, buff-red, earthenware tile, decorated in blue, glazed and finished with silver/copper lustre. The under-glaze design of eight fantasy ducks or dragon-birds surrounded by stylised leaves, which covers the whole upper surface, has been applied by transfer, with the duck shapes filled with thinly applied blue. The leaves are painted over with lustre, which shows silver-gold or pink as the light changes. Some of the ducks face to the left, and some to the right, resisting any sense of unidirectional movement. The blue has run slightly into the slip. The back and the sides are unglazed.


History note: Given by Mr H C Mossop

Legal notes

Given by H.C. Mossop

Measurements and weight

Depth: 1 cm
Depth: 0.375 in
Sides: 15.25 cm
Sides: 6 in

Place(s) associated

  • Fulham ⪼ London ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

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


19th Century, Late#
Production date: AD 1898 : (Design 1872-1882)


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.

School or Style

Arts and Crafts (movement)

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Front composed of glaze ( clear) slip
Decoration composed of lustre ( silver/copper)

Materials used in production

buff-red Earthenware

Techniques used in production

Slip-coating : Earthenware, slip-coated, decorated with transfer design, painted, glazed and lustred.

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: in circular seal

  • Text: DM/98
  • Location: On reverse
  • Method of creation: Impressed
  • Type: Mark
  • Text: 1941 / 9
  • Location: On reverse
  • Method of creation: Circular paper label, inscribed in black ink
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: EC.9-1941
Primary reference Number: 15331
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 18 December 2023 Last processed: Monday 18 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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