Saturday, June 19, 2010
The galleon panel, comprising what De Morgan called "two flank panels [of 20 tiles each] -- crusaders in wessels [sic] on the sea," was most likely designed for the SS Malta. Look closely at the ships' pennants. De Morgan has slapped on some ersatz heraldry: in addition to symbols associated with the Christian crusaders, he also uses (on the ship at right) the star and crescent, that potent symbol of the Christians' enemy, the Ottomans.
The De Morgan Foundation's website, which is in the process of being updated, offers some additional information about the panel here.
From 2002 until last year the foundation's collection of more than 1,000 ceramic pieces and 500 paintings and drawings was exhibited at the De Morgan Centre in southwest London. The centre closed to the public when the foundation lost its lease in a library operated by the Wandsworth Borough Council. A new venue for the collection, which is truly one of the nation's cultural treasures, is being sought.