Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Ashby Potters' Guild 1909-22

 Here we have a small scale pottery that was driven by their principal, Pascoe Tunnicliff, who seems to have been more interested in artistic and technical merits rather than mere profit. The pots are rarely seen now, probably all in private collections. Here are a couple examples that have been through the gallery in the last few years

Pascoe Tunnicliff was born in 1881 at Woodville, the son of Edwin Rowland Tunnicliff, a local butcher turned potter. In 1897 Edwin took over a factory in Chapel Street, Woodville and under the name Victoria Pottery started to produce a range of household wares. He decided to introduce ornamental wares and established Ashby Potters' Guild c1909.

Thomas Camm, a stained glass artist from Smethwick was in charge of design, and Pascoe Tunnicliff developed the glazes and colourings. They specialised in experimental decorative glaze effects. Lustres, flambe and crystalline effects were produced, some being very similar in to William Howsen Taylor's Ruskin Wares.

He is known to have exhibited at the International Exhibition Brussels 1910 (gold medal for Vasco and adventurine) , Arts and Crafts Exhibitions 1912 & 1916, the Turin International Exhibition 1911, Ghent Exhibition 1913 and British Industrial Arts Exhibition 1920.

Production was temporarily suspended during the first World War and by 1922 the pottery had merged with William Ault's pottery to form Ault & Tunnicliff then Aultcliff and finally just Ault Potteries Ltd by 1937.

Typical impressed mark.

After production ended Pascoe worked as a water engineer and moved to Hartshorne. He died in 1956 aged 75.

Still the best books on British Art Pottery are
British Ceramic Art, 1870-1940

Encyclopaedia of British art pottery, 1870-1920
Click on title to find a copy.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Art Pottery Figures #1 G M Hibberd

This is the first of a series of postings concerning British Art Pottery figural sculpture. We are all familiar with artists such as Charles Vyse, the Martin Brothers, Stella Crofts and George Tinworth which are well researched blue chip products seen in Museums and top end galleries. We all dream about finding one for 50p at our local market but know we never will. More attainable are other competent artists such as G Hibberd, M Blyth, Aline Ellis, M S Binyon or Barry Pittar. So here we with first;

Gladys Mary Hibberd Exhibited 1927-35
Introducing Gladys, first encountered in gloomy general auction and bought with a group on Denby rabbits !! I thought this one might be a dead end but was pleased to discover her listed on the Encyclopaedia of British Artists.

Gladys is recorded as a Pottery figure artist who trained at the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts. She lived at 37 Mayon Road, Forest Hill, London and exhibited between 1927 and 1938. Including at the Society of Women Artist 2 works and at the Walker Gallery, Liverpool 2 works.

I hope that there is a relative out there who can expand this biography and send in more pictures.

I have only seen 2 items by this artist, both were of children and were hollow cast from a mould; which suggest that several of each were made.

The first figure was an appealing young blond haired child with their teddy bear, 13.5cm tall and 7cm wide and the other was a larger study of a boy with a menagerie of animals.

Both had an incised name "MARY HIBBERD" on the underside as shown in the picture below.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Compton Potters' Art Guild 1899-1954

Mary Sefton Fraser Tytler Watts, wife of the Victorian portrait painter George Frederick Watts, established the pottery c1899 as an extension to her clay modelling class. itself a result of the discovery of clay at their home "Limnerslease" (painters place) c1890. She was also an artist having studied at the Slade and South Kensington School of Art.

When the Compton Parish Council created a new burial ground, she offered to design and build a new mortuary chapel. This was constructed between 1896 - 98 with virtually every resident involved.
The Chapel is a "must visit" for all fans of arts and crafts. From the outside it has the look of a Roman Italianate Chapel with the interior being a magical confection of Angels; Arthurian Legend meets Burne-Jones. The graves often include art and crafts type sayings eg 

"The Morning Stars Sang Together"

and inside the chapel is the message

 "Their hope is full of immorality but the soul of the righteous are in the hands of God"

The pottery's output was extensive including; figures, jugs, plaques and pendants. Models include; Owl jugs, Toby Jugs, Frog and up to c1915; St George, St Francis, St Christopher, St Martin, St Michael, St Celia, the four seasons, Joan of Arc, Sir Galahad. During the post 1st World War period many pairs of bookends were made including Archers, Sunburst, Galleon, Fruit and Flowers.
The majority of the pottery was made from a soft white body and decorated with tempera, an egg based paint. This is susceptible to ware and washes off !!! be warned - be aware of any unusual white unglazed items !!

Here are examples of the marks to look for, although many items are not marked. Generally refered to by collectors as Compton Pottery.

Here are few pictures of the Mortuary Chapel and grounds. Well worth a trip on bright and sunny day.

I will revisit this subject with a more detailed look at the pottery.

Still the best books on British Art Pottery are
British Ceramic Art, 1870-1940

Encyclopaedia of British art pottery, 1870-1920
Click on title to find a copy.

Ashtead Potters 1923-36

 For my first posting I will stay on safe ground and introduce you to one of my favourite art potteries; Ashtead Potters. They were a small pottery based in Ashtead near Epsom in Surrey. It was founded by Sir and Lady Weaver as a semi charitable company to employ disabled ex servicemen from the First World War. They started in 1923 but had closed by 1936.

For such a small firm based away from the pottery heartlands of the midlands they produced an endless variety of tea, dinner and decorative wares. Virtually all were hand decorated and many of the vases and jugs were hand thrown. 

They marked all the products, usually with the factory mark, shape number, glaze codes and pattern, all the information modern collector love. Their factory mark of an oak tree on a hill is easy to recognize, a typical mark is shown on the left.

Their figures are particularly sort after and include example by designer such as Pheobe Stabler, Allen Wyon, Percy Metcalf, Donald Gilbert and Sir Reid Dick. Here are a few of the 100 plus models.

I will return to this subject time and time again but this all for now.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Welcome to Meridian Gallery Blog

Welcome to Meridian Gallery's new blog spot designed as a posting for information on British and European applied art and design from c1860 until the present day from the Gothic Revival, Aesthetic, Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau through Art Deco and onto post war modernist design.

Some of you will be familiar with the name Meridian Gallery from surfing the net. Over recent years my website of the same name has become a well used resource for information and pictures. However, the limitations of a website has not allowed easy discussion and exchange of new information. I will gradually transfer information with each new posting whilst the old website ULR www.meridiangallery.co.uk will become a shop window for my commercial gallery.

I will try to ensure that the postings are factually correct but will not guarantee the content. As a researcher recently advised; without going back to the original source material small errors once published become fact. At least a blog will allow the expert to correct all my errors.


Here are few pictures of art pottery that will posted in the near future.