London's De Morgan Centre to close as search for new home begins

By Richard Moss | 04 June 2014

One of London's great Pre-Raphaelite and Arts and Crafts treasures, The De Morgan Centre in Wandsworth, is looking for a new home


a painting of two robed figures flying through the sky dropping flowers
Evelyn De Morgan, Night and Sleep, Oil on Canvas, 1878© The De Morgan Foundation
One of the country’s finest collections of Arts and Crafts and Pre-Raphaelite art faces an uncertain future after the De Morgan Centre in Wandsworth had its tenancy agreement terminated.

The Centre, which houses The De Morgan Foundation’s collection of more than 50 oil paintings by later pre-Raphaelite artist Evelyn De Morgan and over 1000 ceramics by the iconic Arts and Crafts potter William De Morgan, is now looking for a new home to house its unique collection.

Housed in a former library building in Wandsworth the collection previously faced uncertainty in 2009 when Wandsworth Council’s cost cutting measures led to the library being closed.

A reprieve came in 2011 when the Foundation reached a deal to sublet the building from Wandsworth Museum, which holds the lease with Wandsworth Council, but with the Museum now relocating, the Centre’s arrangement to sublet has been terminated.

The final opportunity to view the gallery at West Hill will be Saturday June 28.

De Morgan Centre Chariman Paul Jackson explained how the current priorities were the safeguarding and maintenance of the collection and its identity for the future, and “guaranteeing that public access to the works of William and Evelyn De Morgan continues.”

A number of proposed object loans to other museums and cultural institutions will ensure that a selection of the ceramics and oil paintings in the Foundation’s possession will remain accessible to the public. The Foundation's exhibition, the De Morgans and the Sea is currently showing at the Russel-Cotes in Bournemouth.

A new office space is also desperately needed so the Foundation can continue to provide essential activities and start the work of finding a new home to exhibit the collection.

“The directors and our dedicated staff and volunteers have worked hard over the last decade to create an enduring cultural legacy,” said Mr Jackson who, as well as a lively exhibition programme, can point to a raft of activities with the local and wider community through education, outreach and events.

The recently expanded website will continue to offer a wealth of information about the De Morgans and their work and continue to be a valuable resource for students, researchers and art enthusiasts, but there is now a real need to find a physical space for staff and collection.

“This is not the first time the Foundation has faced this situation; we’ve overcome similar challenges in the past and we have no doubt that we will do so this time,” added Jackson. “We are grateful to all who have supported us at our Wandsworth home and hope for their continued support and encouragement as we move onto our next stage.”

Supporters are now being encouraged to get in touch with the museum to help with advocacy and assistance. Interested people can also sign up to its Friends membership scheme which will continue to offer the opportunity to support its activities, participate in group events and visits to relevant institutions, and receive newsletters and regular mailings.  

Anyone interested in assisting and supporting the Foundation’s work are encouraged to contact the Curator Claire Longworth via info@demorgan.org.uk

Ways to Follow the Foundation and its future activities:

Website: www.demorgan.org.uk

Friends scheme: www.demorgan.org.uk/shop/friends-membership

Facebook: www.facebook.com/demorganfoundation 

Twitter: www.twitter.com/DeMorganF


Click below to launch a gallery of artworks from the De Morgan Collection




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More on this story:

De Morgan Centre set for closing exhibition

The De Morgan Centre revisits the lost paintings of Evelyn De Morgan


Related exhibition:

The De Morgans and the Sea: Russel-Cotes Art Gallery, Bournemouth
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