Evelyn de Morgan - Boreas and Oreithyia, 1896
Boreas and Oreithyia
Public domain photograph of 19th-century painting, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description
Evelyn De Morgan ( 1855–1919) was a painter who defied the expectations of her class and gender to become one of the most impressive artists of a generation. Her richly coloured canvases featuring beautifully draped figures, deliver messages of feminism, spirituality and the rejection of war and material wealth, making them incredibly relevant today.
Evelyn was born in 1855 in London to upper-class parents Percival Pickering Q.C. and Anna Maria Spencer Stanhope and belonged to a line of Yorkshire landowners on her father’s side and to nobility on her mother’s, who were direct descendants of Earl of Leicester. She was educated at home, together with her brothers, and her lessons were Latin, Greek, French, German and Italian, as well as classical literature, mythology, and the sciences, subjects rarely available to girls of her age. Evelyn’s uncle John Roddham Spencer Stanhope was a late-Victorian painter. Through Stanhope, De Morgan developed friendships with Pre-Raphaelite painters Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Holman Hunt. Evelyn married ceramicist William De Morgan (the son of the mathematician Augustus De Morgan). She and her husband were both spiritualists, and authors of a 1909 publication of automatic writings — communications with spirit beings. The book describes the couple practicing automatic writing together every night for many years of their marriage. De Morgan uses a range of motifs to represent spiritual ideas. A few examples are Renaissance angels, heavenly auras, a distinctive contrast between light and dark, and the color symbolism.