NEWS: William and Evelyn De Morgan – Two of the Rarest Spirits of the Age @ Laing Art Gallery | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: S.O.S by Evelyn De Morgan (1914) © De Morgan Collection, courtesy of the De Morgan Foundation

When you consider art history’s great power couples you might think of Gilbert and George or Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. You might not think of the rather unassuming Evelyn and William De Morgan. Described by Sir Edward Pointer, President of the Royal Academy as “the rarest spirits of the age”, this exhibition at Newcastle’s newly reopened Laing Art Gallery explores what made the duo so special.

It seems somehow apt that the work of Evelyn De Morgan heralds the reopening of the Laing. Painted in a very different time in response to a very different danger, her work is replete with a relatable sense of hope. Lux in Tenebris is a striking example which greets you as you enter her section of the exhibition. Its glowing portrayal of a women, shinning through the darkness to offer us peace, is a reassuring reminder that there are better times ahead.

While William’s work doesn’t carry the same socio-political message of Evelyn’s, his designs are pure arts and crafts escapism. His father was a famous mathematician and his influence can be felt through the geometric patterns of the ceramics. Another influence was Thomas Bewick, whose History of British Birds can be seen alongside the swan plates that it inspired.

William and Evelyn De Morgan: Two of the Rarest Spirits of the Age is on show at Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle from Monday 10th August to Saturday 26th September

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