Frend de Morgan
A potter, and novelist, William studied at the Royal Academy
Schools, and he started as a designer of tiles and stained glass.
He had become close friends with William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones,
who had probably encouraged him him to work in this field. William then
developed an interest in pottery. In around 1872 he built a kiln at Chelsea,
and devoted himself to decorating tiles, pots, dishes, etc.. He was by
training a painter, and so his interest was principally in the glaze rather
than the form of the pottery itself. Most of the designs were from his
own imagination, inspired by Renaissance techniques or by 15th-16th century
Islamic decoration, according to his personal interpretation.
He turned out glazed ware in beautiful blues and greens which won him
much praise in artistic circles, but overall, he made little money.
William had married Evelyn Pickering, and they began to spend winters
at Florence from 1892. This made it difficult to run the pottery business,
and William was by now experiencing financial losses. Compounded by ill-health,
the pottery business was eventually closed in 1907.
Just before his pottery business began to wind down, William, by then
sixty-five years of age, began to write a story in a somewhat whimsical
Dickenson manner. Encouraged by his wife to continue, he completed the
work and the resulting novel, Jose Vance, was published in 1906,
and became a best seller. He continued to write in Florence, and his subsequent
books attained considerable success, although the whole experience left
him somewhat perplexed, but at the same time, delighted. By 1914 William
and Evelyn returned to London permanently, and William continued to write.
They lived at Chelsea for the rest of their lives.
Place of birth: London
Place of death: Chelsea, London
Place of burial: Brookwood cemetery, Surrey
Son of Augustus De Morgan and Sophia Frend. He married Evelyn Pickering
in 1887, and had no issue.