Evelyn De Morgan (British, 1850-1919)
Evelyn De Morgan was born in London in 1855, the eldest child of lawyer Percival Pickering QC and niece of the Pre-Raphaelite painter John Roddam Spencer Stanhope. Evelyn began lessons with a drawing master at the age of 15, followed by prize-winning studies at South Kensington and Slade Schools; in 1875 she paid her first visit to Italy. Her exhibition debut in 1876 at the Dudley Gallery with 'St Catherine of Alexandria' was followed by an invitation to show at the Grosvenor Gallery, where she exhibited regularly. In 1887 she married William de Morgan, ceramicist and associate of William Morris, with whom she shared a deep interest in spiritualism. [Read more about their spiritualist activities and beliefs in Evelyn de Morgan: Oil Paintings].
From 1888 to 1901, she became a regular exhibitor at the New Gallery, establishing a reputation as an artist influenced by Burne-Jones. Her preferred subjects included sacred and allegorical figures and scenes, and legends with a moral or social message such as 'The Christian Martyr' and 'The Worship of Mammon', treated in a fashion that exploited her superior drawing skills and design sense, with striking colour and billowing draperies, often on a very large scale.
From 1890-1914, for the sake of William?s health, the couple divided their time between Chelsea and Florence; together they devised a painting method utilising glycerine which, though too troublesome to pursue, produced the clear, bright tones they sought. Her 1902 exhibition at Leighton House was followed by a solo show at Bruton Gallery (1906) and an exhibition of 25 works at Wolverhampton Art Gallery (1907). In 1916, her horror of the war led her to mount an exhibition of 13 works for the benefit - more info