William and Evelyn De Morgan were artists who believed that their artwork could make the world a better, more beautiful place. They were married in 1887, entering into an equal partnership in which each supported the other in artistic endeavours. Evelyn De Morgan (1855 - 1919) painted stunning canvases, inspired by the Aesthetic movement, and Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, which promoted her feminist, spiritualist, and pacifist agendas. She was a true professional whose commercial success kept the couple, and enabled William De Morgan (1839 - 1917) to maintain his pottery business. William's unique ceramics were handmade in Chelsea, Merton Abbey, and Fulham by a small team of dedicated staff, upholding William Morris's Arts and Crafts Movement ideals that objects should be both beautiful and useful.
Upon the deaths of the artists, Evelyn's Younger sister Wilhelmina Stirling began collecting as much of the De Morgan's artwork as she could, believing in the power of their art to transform and uplift the lives of others with its beauty. She left her collection in trust upon her death, and the De Morgan Foundation was registered as an independent charity in 1967.
Today, The aims of the charity are as follows:
- To care for the De Morgan Collection and provide public access to it
- To provide information about and interpretation of the Collection on many levels, and to promote the appreciation of art and education in art and allied subjects
- The Foundation offers the widest possible access to the Collection to the public via strategic partnerships with complementary organisations across the country, through a series of loans and temporary exhibitions.
It also provides an online, searchable database of the collection and images of the artworks themselves, as well as information about the collection and the life and work of the De Morgans.
The Foundation also runs educational programmes, activities, talks and events, to encourage exploration, understanding, appreciation of and insight into the Collection.