The latter part of the nineteenth century was a time of rapid expansion for De Morgan's company, and the burden of large commissions meant he often bought blank tiles and holloware from potteries such as Poole and Maw and Co. to be decorated in his own workshop. This vase however, is an exceedingly rare example of a De Morgan design, executed on The Morgan Crucible Company ware.
The Morgan Brothers' industrial ceramics company was founded in Battersea in 1856, adopting "The Morgan Crucible Company" as a trading name in 1881. It has long been assumed that De Morgan had a working relationship with the company and indeed letters he sent to Halsey Ricardo (De Morgan's business partner) in the mid 1890's confirm not only that De Morgan bought clay from the company, but also shared resources: "it may as well be sent to the Crucible works in Battersea, where they will oblige by putting it through an oven" De Morgan, Florence, Feb 27/1895 (Letter in Private Collection). According to the eminent De Morgan expert Jon Catleugh "It seems to me obvious that at some stage De Morgan bought one of their products to try out, in this case very successfully".
The significance of the pot is further enhanced as it allows the attribution of two bowls with similar decoration and pockmarkings in the collection of the De Morgan Foundation (which are unmarked) to a De Morgan Morgan Crucible Company collaboration.
Claire Longworth, Curator, The De Morgan Centre, London, Autumn 2008