Monday, 20 December 2010

Art Pottery Figures #5 - Aline Ellis

We were introduced to the art of Aline Ellis at an auction viewing during my normal monthly round of sales. I had not heard of her or even seen any items by her before this sale. As we entered the viewing room we were surrounded by hundreds of art pottery figures, animals, pots and works of art. Boxes of broken horses, groups of farm animals and more dogs than Crufts. We needed to know more; the auction had done it's work as the sale coinsided with an articule in the Sussex Life Magazine.

 Well !! We just had to buy some and we certainly had ago. We thought what we could sell these for, especially the animals and on sale day we had a 
clear limit on the lots we were interested in. This list was soon torn up as my colleague waved her paddle as if she was at Wimbledon and we got caught up in a furious bidding battle for some of the better groups. Fortunantly some other were seling a little nearer our original limit.

Time for a break and over coffee "so exactly how are going to sell these !!" You of little faith was the reply and she was right. We sold all bar one dog, althought the average profit was small, well tiny. So who was Aline Ellis - well here is an intro.

Aline Ellis was an artist, potter and sculptor with life story rather reminiscent to that of Beatrix Potter. She was born in Bishop Auckland in 1886 to a prosperous middle class family, She was a keen horsewoman and from her earliest days showed a talent for drawing and carving models of animals. She went on to study in Bushey, Hertfordshire. Most probably at the art school run by the prominent equine artist Lucy Kemp-Welch rather the the established School of Art run by Herbert Herkomer.

She lived at Ebury Lodge, Little Hadham, Herts where she established a pottery. Many of her pieces are marked “Ebury” or with a simple monogram of entwined EA. She was a well respected artist in her own day with reviews on her work appearing in the Times, Country Life and The Field.

She specialised in animal sculptor in pottery, particularly of dogs and equine subjects. She also illustrated several books  and I recall seeing several paintings of horse at the sale, which I guess were portraits.

She was commissioned to design a series of animal figures by Alex Dickin in the USA which were produced by Royal Worcester c1940. Aline exhibited widely including at the Fine Art Society (74) and at the Royal Academy.

Also recently featured on the BBC Antiques Roadshow, when her art was well received.
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