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Dish with boat, mermaids and fish: C.57-2023

Object information

Current Location: In storage


Dish with boat, mermaids and fish


Designer: De Morgan, William Frend
Decorator: Passenger, Charles
Maker: William De Morgan & Co.




White earthenware, glazed and painted with silver-yellow and ruby lustre.

Circular dish with curved sides. The whole surface covered with a design in shades of red on a white ground, showing a cherub paddling a small boat and looking down at two mermaids, one of whom is catching his paddle, against a background of stylised sea, waves and giant sun; seven stylised fish chase each other around the rim. The outside of the dish is covered with concentric bands, alternately ruby and silver-yellow; within these is a a thin foot-rim.


History note: Lent by Rita Smythe, 2018

Legal notes

Bequeathed by Ian and Rita Smythe, 2023

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 23 cm
Height: 3.4 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Fulham

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (2023) by Smythe, Ian and Rita


19th Century, Late#
1888 CE - 1897 CE


Charles Passenger and his brother Fred joined the pottery as decorators in 1877 and 1879 respectively. In 1889 they became William De Morgan’s partners, along with Frank Iles (kiln-master from c. 1873). When De Morgan’s pottery closed in 1907, the brothers and Iles set up their own business in Brompton Road, which ran until 1911; and by agreement they continued to use De Morgan’s designs.

William 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. He was 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, experimenting 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

School or Style

Arts and Crafts (movement)

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of lustre clear glaze

Materials used in production

White earthenware

Techniques used in production

Throwing : White earthenware, slip-coated, glazed and painted with lustres

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: around a small central curcle

  • Text: W.D.M. FULHAM
  • Location: Underside, centre
  • Method of creation: Painted in ruby lustre
  • Type: Mark
  • Text: CP
  • Location: Underside of base
  • Method of creation: Painted in ruby lustre, in script capitals
  • Type: Mark

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.57-2023
Primary reference Number: 226784
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Tuesday 7 May 2019 Updated: Tuesday 16 January 2024 Last processed: Tuesday 16 January 2024

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Dish with boat, mermaids and fish" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-14 05:56:07

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