Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Reginald Wells (1877 - 1951)

 Reginald Fairfax Wells was born in Brazil in 1877 and trained at the Royal College of Art, South Kensington studying sculpture and later studied ceramics at the Camberwell School of Art. Initially he worked in bronze and was a frequent exhibitor.

Exhibiting at ;
Grosvenor Gallery  
Glasgow Institute of fine Art
International Society   
Royal Academy          
Walker Gallery, Liverpool 
Royal Scottish Academy       
- 7 exhibits
- 3
- 31
- 9
- 3
- 3

At the age of 23 in 1900 after move to Wrotham in Kent he became more interested in ceramics, perhaps because of Wrotham's associations with early pottery from 17th century. He produced items of slipware and slip cast figural works often after his bronze originals. 
From  c1909 after a move to College street, Chelsea, he produced glazed stonewares which he marketed as "Coldrvm" ware up to c1914. He was employing Edward J Baker, who later worked at the Upchurch Pottery. Production being interrupted by the First World War.
During the First World War he formed the Wells Aviation Company (later called Chelsea Aviation Co) and briefly designed Aircraft. They built approximately 100 Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter aircraft under licence from the Sopwith Aviation Company. Wells Aviation acquired an airfield c1916/17 on the Chidham Peninsula near Cobnor where they tested aircraft and   ran a flying school as a Government Contractor. It is recorded that it was also a Seaplane base. They only built one plane and that was destroyed by   fire on its maiden flight. (more information) Perhaps Wells should have stuck to Pots!!

 From 1918 he worked from  the London Pottery Co at 417 Kings Road Chelsea producing a rang of pottery marketed as "Soon" perhaps emulating the Chinese glazes of the sung period.

He moved to Storrington in Sussex in 1924 where a larger and better kiln was built. Here he continued to produce "Soon" ware up to the out break of the Second World War. His move to Sussex appears to coincide with his purchase of 50 acres of heath land. From 1925 his attention turned to architecture, building some 200 houses in Angmering, West Chiltington, Sussex and in Kent. The Wells cottage is now a collectors item in its own right.

1877 - born in Brazil
1890's - trained Royal College of Art & Camberwell
1900's - working in bronze
c1909 - working in ceramic at Coldrum Wrotham Kent
1909 - moves to College Str Chelsea producing "Coldrvm" ware
1914 - ceases potting due to War
1914- 1918 Wells Aviation Co
1918 - moves to 417 Kings Road Chelsea, produces "Soon" ware
1923 - Exhibits at Gieves with William Straite Murray.
1924 - moves to Storrington, Sussex.
1925 - buys land for development
c1940 - ceases potting
1951 - dies

Impressed Coldrvm c1909 - 1914
Impressed "Soon" c1918 - 1940

For more pictures and information go to
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