Evelyn Pickering De Morgan (1855-1919) was the female pre-Raphaelite painter, considered by some of her contemporaries to be the best female painter ever. She was one of those nineteenth-century characters, deeply involved in spiritualism, political reform, pacifism, and feminism. Her husband, William De Morgan, was a ceramicist, involved in the same causes as his wife. Together they produced a once-famous book of automatic writing, The Result of an Experiment (1909). Above, Clytie, 1886.
Some of her pictures are full of light and flowers and remind one of Botticelli; not by coincidence, since she and her husband spent every winter in Florence and she was a great admirer of the Renaissance Italians. Above, Flora, 1894.
Queen Eleanor and Fair Rosamund, 1905.
I find myself more drawn to her darker paintings, like Night and Sleep, 1878.
But what inspired me to write this post was these paintings, De Morgan's response to World War I. In S O S (1915) and The Field of the Slain (1916), an elderly refugee from the optimistic Victorian age confronted the horror of total war, and a believer in spiritualism imagined a world of darkness.
The tomb she designed for her and her husband in 1918.