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William De Morgan Persian Serpent Small Border Tiles

The snake is the symbol of the great wisdom of Nature, for the too direct way is not the best way; the crooked way, the detour, is the shorter way. ~Carl Jung

Of Snakes and Flowers

These Persian Serpent tile panels are representative of De Morgan's Persian color palette Persian blue (a medium to dark blue), green, strong yellow, a slightly yellow green, with accents in varying shades of manganese purple, and Indian red.

William De Morgan Persian Serpent Merton Abbey, produced in De Morgan's Persian color palette: primarily Persian blue (a medium to dark blue), green, strong yellow, a slightly yellow green, with varying shade of mangese purple and Indian red.

Application: This is a small backsplash, suitable for kitchens with low cabinets, behind a sink in a bath, or as a decorative border, perhaps in a shower or sun room. Although no one has done it, I like the design of intermittent two-tile panels or four-squares in a line. See kitchen tile installations to see what I am talking about. The Persian Serpents tiles are ceramic and 4.25 inches square.

Title: William De Morgan : Persian Serpents Backsplash

Panels: 2 panels of 2 tiles in a vertical panel

Tile: Ceramic

Size: 4.25 inch square tiles

Thickness: .25 inch.

Colors: Can be modified slightly. See How to Order Tile.


Complete panel (4 tiles): $465


Snakes were a popular motif in the 19th century, so much so that Prince Albert gave the very first engagement ring to Victoria, a jewelry snake with an emerald-set head, a symbol of his eternal love.

For Victorians, snakes also represented wisdom and eternity, just as they had in medieval as well as in ancient Egyptian times. De Morgan included an ouroboros, a snake infinitely devouring his own tail, in a set of bird tiles, also in his "Persian colors" (Spot the Imposter). The snake has a dual expression of good and evil, fertility and rebirth, poison and medicine.

Queen Victoria's engagement ring, a gift from Price Albert. Victoria proposed to Albert in the Blue Closet of what would later be their quarters at Windsor Castle on 10 October 1839.

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Mythically, different civilizations have variation on the theme of duality: the Egyptians saw it represent royalty and deity; in Rabbinical tradition and Hinduism, the snake represents sexual passion and desire (long before Freud); Early Roman culture saw the snake as a symbol of everlasting love. Cleopatra favorited snake motifs to the very end. Early Greek, Nordic, African, and Native Americans also honored the snake or serpent.