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William De Morgan Merton Abby Owl and Moon, 1880

I expressed just now my mistrust of what is called spiritualism -- I owe it a trifle for a message said to come from Voltaire's Ghost. It was asked, "Are you not now convinced of another world?" and rapped out, "There is no other world -- Death is only an incident in life." ~William De Morgan

William De Morgan Merton Abby owl tile panel, 6 tiles, William Morris Tile

Victorian Spiritualism in Owl and Moon

This is, I think, the first influence of Victorian spiritualism seen in De Morgan's tiles. The Owl and Moon panel was done while he was at Merton Abbey, a few years before he met and married Evelyn Pickering. William's mother, a spiritualist and social reformer, was Evelyn mentor. Evelyn became very interested in spiritualism and the paranormal, and it is often assumed that it was her influence that led him into spiritualism.

However, William's parents had themselves written From Matter to Spirit: The Results of Ten Years Experience in Spirit Manifestation in 1863. De Morgan was born in 1839, meaning the spirit manifestations, as it were, largely colored his teen years at the very least. Evelyn and William did explore automatic writing on their own and coauthored a book on their experiences in The Results of an Experiment.

Merton Abbey Owl and Crescent Moon

Two Original De Morgan Panels

William De Morgan Merton Abby owl tile tile panel Original William De Morgan Merton Abby owl tiles

*from auction sales photos

Owl and Moon Panel Pricing and Specifications

Owl and Moon Fireplace

Shown here is a design for a custom fireplace based on Merton Abbey Owl and Moon made on 4.25 inch Spanish tiles. I'll replace this mockup when photos of the installed fireplace become available. The design is scaleable to fit different fireplace dimensions. As shown, $4200. (Available on black only).

William De Morgan Merton Abby owl - plan for fireplace