Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Art Pottery Figures #7 - Helen Wickham 1884-1982

Helen Florence Wickham (1884­-1982) was a painter and potter; the daughter of Henry Thomas Wickham of Batcombe, Somerset.  

There is a reference suggesting that she was also the foster daughter of the actress Ellen Ternan (a burlesque dancer and Charles 
Dicken's mistress).  Ellen had two sister; Florence was a writer and married Adolphus Trollope and Maria who was a painter.

Helen is recorded as an artist potter working in London during the 1920’s. She had a studio at 12a Westbere Road, West Hampstead.
She exhibited c1925-29 including at;

Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society - 3 works,
Walker Gallery, Liverpool – 7
Royal Miniature Society – 2.


The model illustrated here is titled Mischief. There used to be a version of this on display in the Victoria and Albert Museum which was donated by the artist in 1923. However, it has been removed from the ceramics gallery during the recent refurbishment. Other figures seen include; Shy Lucinda, The Green Shawl and The Declaration. All are clearly marked and titled.



I am fairly certain the above information is correct, but is the any more information out there ??

I have found one lead which looks hopeful, which popped up after a bit of googling. I found reference to an archive of material in the Senate House Library, University of London "relating to the extended Ternan family and their friends, [c1800-1974], including; manuscript material received by Katherine Longley from Helen Florence Wickham as joint executrix and legatee of the personal property of Gladys Eleanor Wharton Reece (daughter of Mr and Mrs George Wharton Robinson)" These include material relating to Helen Wickham's career as an artist and miniature paintings by her of the extended Ternan family. Another reference to the same archive refers to Helen Florence Wickham as the foster daughter of the actress Ellen Ternan.

Miniature paintings by her included in the archive are portraits of Mrs F.E.Trollope,  Sir John Martin ­Harvey as Sydney Carton in 'The Only Way' and Rosalind Wickham. Other references to Helen include Thirty letters to Helen Wickham regarding the exhibition and sale of her pottery figurines. Including correspondence with the British Institute of Industrial Art, The Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers, 
the British Empire Exhibition, H.C.Dickins, the Fine Art Society, Ernest Brown and Phillips.

Internet references includes;

http://www.aim25.ac.uk/cats/14/1517.htm
http://archives.ulrls.lon.ac.uk/resources/MS915.pdf
http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/8294640
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