Earthenware standing dish by William De Morgan
A standing dish decorated in red and copper lustre, with a ship in the centre of dish, and fish surrounding. Back of dish and stand decorated with a red and copper pattern. William de Morgan’s mastery of lustre and ‘Isnik’ (early Turkish) glazes, in combination with the endless inventiveness and appeal of his designs, created some of the most outstanding ceramics of his era. William de Morgan and William Morris met in the early 1860s and remained lifelong friends. Initially, de Morgan made designs for stained glass and ceramic tiles for Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. before beginning to experiment, from around 1869, with firing his own ceramics. Like Morris, he believed in the intrinsic value of hand-made objects and rejected industrial methods of production in favour of studio-based practice. This standing dish shows both the whimsy of de Morgan’s designs, and the inspiration he drew from Renaissance art and design. It was decorated by Fred Passenger, who along with his brother Charles worked for many years for de Morgan, painting his designs onto pots; both were extremely talented and decorated many of the finest examples of de Morgan ceramics. During the period this standing dish was made, the brothers became partners in the pottery, along with Frank Iles, who was responsible for the firings. See 'Rare Spirit: A Life of William de Morgan' by Mark Hamilton (London: Constable 1997) and 'Catalogue of the Pottery' by William de Morgan by Pinkham, Roger (London: Victoria and Albert Museum 1973).