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  • Date:

    1872-1881 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    William De Morgan, born 1839 - died 1917 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pencil and watercolour on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Mary Evelyn De Morgan

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125, Edwin and Susan Davies Gallery, case 6, shelf DR1

Object Type
This design is typical of William De Morgan's sketches on paper, giving a hint of the finished design. De Morgan produced thousands of designs for tiles and this is just one of the 820 in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Design & Designing
The greatest number of De Morgan designs for tiles are based on flowers, such as the fan-shaped carnation used here. De Morgan used interlocking floral designs on many of his tiles. 'BBB' was De Morgan's most popular tile design. He produced it in a number of forms and the Victoria and Albert Museum has eight different versions of this design. They vary in the size, colour and design of the petals and leaves.

De Morgan had a pottery in Chelsea, London between 1872 and 1881. 'Chelsea' is written on the back of this design. This would appear to indicate that the tiles were to be produced at this pottery. However the tiles were not actually produced until 1898 when De Morgan had moved his pottery to Fulham, London.

The name of this tile was derived from the Norwich firm, Barnard, Bishop and Barnard, who gave De Morgan his first large order for tiles to be used in their cast-iron fireplaces.


1872-1881 (made)


William De Morgan, born 1839 - died 1917 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Pencil and watercolour on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Inscribed on the back in pencil 'Chelsea'


Height: 19 cm, Width: 37 cm

Object history note

Designed by William De Morgan (born in London, 1839, died there in 1917)

Descriptive line

De Morgan tile panel design

Labels and date

British Galleries:

The potter William De Morgan made both grand, individual works of art, such as the vase and cover in the case above, and more commercial items such as tiles. Here is the original design and two samples of a pattern called BBB. This was one of his most popular tiles and was named after the iron founding firm of Barnard, Bishop and Barnard of Norwich, who made the fireplaces in which De Morgan's tiles were frequently used. [27/03/2003]


Designs; Tiles


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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