Friday, 20 May 2011

Agnes Bain Herbert not Helen Paxton Brown

More hand painted pottery. This I know to be contentious as these ware appear to have been incorrectly attributed for years. For years this monogram has been interpreted as HPB and attributed to the Scottish Lady artist Helen Paxton Brown. Looking at old auction catalogues confirm that even the most respected Scottish firm have and naturally the specialist dealers have followed.

Why wouldn't you, I know I did and I used to sell these very well to collectors who also knew them to be by Helen. Based on this knowledge I published details on my old website and advertising her wares for sale.


These are beautifully painted wares and the patterns generally work on the shapes. Some, like the dish below look as if the patterns have grown on to the dish. As if the artist only really want a single flower to one side but which has organically multiplied and crept to cover most of the space. You feel that if you came back and looked again in few hours, it would have disappeared under the foliage.

Enough of who it wasn't and now for who it was ! maybe possibly probably by !

As a result of the information published on my website I was contacted by a relation of the artist who did more likely owned the monogram. The monogram was not HPB but should be read as ABH. The owner being Agnes Bain Herbert (1875-1956) the relation seemed to be mounting a campaign to re-attribute this body of work. 

Having recently reviewed some auction catalogues it is interesting to see that some auctioneers are now using the correct details whilst one used the phrase "TWO HELEN PAXTON BROWN PLATES - ACTUALLY AGNES BAIN HERBERT". I would add that this campaign coincided with the collapse in demand and hence value of these wares, coincidence perhaps. Happily the interest in these beautiful works of art has recovered slightly.

Who was Agnes ? I still don't know. Where did she train and where did she work ?? Someone will know.
Post a Comment