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William De Morgan Happy Dragons Backsplash and Accent Tiles

Art Nouveau Dragons with Victorian Borders

But it is one thing to read about dragons and another to meet them. Ursula K. Le Guin

William De Morgan Tile Backsplash, 'Happy Dragons'. Twenty-four tiles, including foliage border.  30 inches by 18 inches.  Center tiles are six inches.

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This is an early De Morgan Art Nouveau design with some classic Victorian elements: the blue and white color, its scaleability, the floral border, and the stylized quality of the dragons. The Happy Dragons are available both as accent tiles and as scaleable panels for backsplash or fireplace.

Scaleable Tile Backsplash

William De Morgan Red Lustre Tile Backsplash, 'Happy Dragons'. Sixteen-tile panel, including foliage border.  Center tiles are six inches.

Happy Dragons is a very scalable design. The original panel consists of 20 tiles in a vertical orientation. The happy dragon pattern repeats on both the horizontal and the vertical, making it an excellent candidate for filling in odd sized spaces.

The backslash has six-inch center tiles, and a three-inch border. It is made up of three tile sizes:

Art Nouveau Dragons

The center dragon tiles dragon tiles are available in 4.25 and 6 inches. They do not have borders. If installing the border, you are committing to the six-inch center tiles for things to work out correctly.

Size: Center and accent tiles are 6 inches (15.24 cm).

Victorian Floral Border

Floral Border Tiles: The carnation border is made of two sizes: The corner carnations are 3 inches square, and the carnation and foliage panels are 6 inches by 3 inches.

Colors: The Happy Dragons panels are available in the same cobalt blue and red lustre as the accent tiles, as well as copper and gold. Just for fun, I also made the center dragons in in De Morgan Persian blues, from his Persian palette. There is no border available for the Persian dragon variation.

Background Color: The background color is cream or white.

Complementary Tiles: Following the rule that "Good design repeats itself", you can use the accent tiles can be used as a complementary border or elsewhere to pull the look of the room together. If you choose 8-inch accent tiles, the dragons will be the same scale as the backsplash.

Happy Dragons Backsplash Pricing

William De Morgan Reproducton Tile Panel, 'Happy Dragons'. Twenty-tile panel, with foliage border.  Center tiles are six inches.

Four center dragons tiles (two of each orientation): $370 (4.25 inch) / $415 (6 inch)

Additional center dragon sets (two tiles - one of each orientation): $180 (any size tiles)

Four carnation corners (3 inches square) : $75 for set of 4.

Carnation panels, each (6 x 3 inches): $44 each

Individual Accent Tiles

William De Morgan Victorian 'Happy Dragons' bordered accent tile.

I have made single accent tiles based on the full backsplash available in cobalt blue and red lustre. Square accent tiles are available in 6 inches and 8 inches.

Colors: Cobalt blue and red lustre.

Background Color: Cream or white.

Pricing for Accent tiles with borders

8 inches: $84

6 inches: $58

Historical Background

De Morgan Art Nouveau Dragon grotesques without border

Some Historical Information: The date of the original 'Happy Dragons' panel is the subject of much debate. De Morgan did make red lustre tiles on earthenware blanks well into his Fulham period (1888-1907), and the V&A dates the piece as 1888. Arts and Crafts historian Michael Robinson dates is as c. 1882, which would be right after De Morgan's move to Merton Abbey (see About William De Morgan for an overview of his "periods"). I am inclined to agree with Michael Robinson. In the years preceding the move to Merton Abbey, De Morgan experimented with different glazes. He had begun experimenting with lustreware early in his Chelsea period, but several years of experimentation followed. He eventually made his own earthenware tiles, but the purchased blanks he used during his Chelsea and Merton Abbey periods, sometimes made the lustre uneven, as in the original of this panel. He also implemented these center tiles in cobalt blue. The foliage border is not unique to this panel but appears in various forms in many of De Morgan's tiles and borders. See the original at The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge

Installation Photos

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William De Morgan Victorian 'Happy Dragons' bordered accent tile.

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