Saturday, 26 February 2011

Bourne Denby - Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of my continuing series on the art pottery and novelties made at the Bourne Denby pottery. Today I will concentrate on their finest range, the tubeline lined wares.

Over the years it has always surprised me that the tubeline wares made at Bourne Denby have been over looked even by quite serious Denby collectors. They can be very fine decorative designs, especailly the more art nouveau flowing floral patterns like "Celtic" "Medic" and "Bamford".

These pieces are from the Danesby Decorated Stoneware range dating to the mid 1920's. It's introduction seems to coinside with year in which Albert Colledge was promoted to be in charge of the decorating shop.

They exhibited at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924, producing a special paperweight in the form of a globe on the backs of four lions, with tubeline writing around the base.

An Eric pattern vase c1925 is shown on the right.

One possibly reason for it's lack of recognition is the absence of clear marking. Unlike later "Danesby Ware" these early art pots are largely unmarked, often only an impressed letter can be seen on their underside. Never the less; they are distinctive when you have the "knowledge" and the Denby stoneware clay should give a good clue.

Other firm producing tubeline decorative pottery include, William Moorcroft, the Rhead family, Royal Doulton, Cauldon Cairo Ware and Minton's Seccessionist Wares.


Friday, 25 February 2011

Mayo Art Pottery Figures #9

Really this one is a cry for help. I have had this this little cat for some time but have failed to find out anything about him ?

He is a tiny little thing 5cm high and about 3.5cm wide. He made from a dry looking white clay and decorated with hand painting. It is hollow cast which suggest a production item not a one off and it is marked "Mayo" and 12/6 O/S.

Pricing would suggest English or an old Empire country. Googling failed me here; no permutation of Mayo, Ceramic, Pottery, Cat etc brought up any hopeful leads for potters or ceramics artists.

However; Mayo, cat and artist did introduce me to Eileen Mayo and the linocut shown. An uncanny resemblance between the two, but by the same artist ?

Dame Eileen Rosemary Mayo (1906 - 1994)
She was an English born artist designer who lived and worked in England, Australia and New Zealand. Her Wiki entry lists all sort of mediums she worked in, but not pottery !!

She was born in Norwich and studied art at the Slade and the Central School of Arts and Crafts before attending the Grosvenor School of Modern Art in 1928 and learning about linocut printing under Claude Flight. In the same year she exhibited in the ‘First Exhibition of British Linocuts' at the Redfern Gallery. She continued exhibiting prints at the Redfern Gallery until her departure for Sydney in 1952.

In 1962 Mayo moved to Waimate where her mother was living. By 1965 Mayo was living in Christchurch where, apart from a period in Dunedin from 1972 to 1975, she remained until her death in 1994. She continued producing prints in Christchurch until 1985.

But are these the same artist ? Can any reader help?

Sept 2011 - Some help has been "commented" by anonymous who directed me to an article on the Tate Gallery website about Dame Eileen, where they state "She was primarily a printmaker, but also worked in a very wide range of other media, from tempura paintings to pottery". So perhaps we have a lead and closer to an attribution.

For more on Eileen Mayo - see

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Paul Marcel Dammann

In recent months I have become more and more interested in French and Belgium bronze medailles from the early to mid 20th century. The French seem to have a tradition of issuing commemorative medals for everything; far more often than seen in Britain. The vast majority of medals seen in the UK are awards/prizes or for Royal events. Whilst in France even the exhibitor at the North West France Pork Butchers show would each receive a beautifully engraved specially minted bronze medal.

 A fairly high percentage of the medals seen in France are signed by the die engravers and stamped with mint marks. So here is the first of a series on engravers.

This fine art deco design bronze medal was issued to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Paris Electricity Company. It signed on the reverse by the following artist.

Paul Marcel Dammann 

He was a French sculptor and engraver of medals. He studied at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaus Arts in Paris under the respected artist Chaplain. Although he gained early success winning a prize for engraving at the 1908 Grand Prix De Rome and the resulting time spent as artist in residence at the Villa Medici in Rome, his best period seems to be the years just before and after the First World War. His designs during this period would have been considered "moderne" or what we now refer to as art deco.

P-M Dammann's design philosophy was "that a medal should be clear and must be able to be read immediately"

He was awarded the 
Premier Grand Prix de Rome in 1908 with "Jeune fille a sa toilette"
Medal of Honor at the Salon of French Artists in 1928.
Vice-President of the Société des Artistes Français.
Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur .

Typical signature.

His other works include decorative sculpture and the war memorial in Montgeron.

Other designs include;

To return to the "20thC Medal Artists" index - CLICK HERE
This blog is "free to all" with no joining fees - financed by the few clicks on sponsored adverts.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Bourne Denby - Part 1

For most people Denby pottery is associated with dinner and tea wares. Everybody had it with it's nearly indestructible stoneware and bold designs. From the 1930's Cottage Blue and Manor Green through to the 1950's iconic Greenwheat to more modern (now retro) designs such as Arabesque and Troubadour. However, there is much more to Denby with a considerable catalogue of art pottery and novelties.

The pottery at Denby in Derbyshire was founded by William Bourne in 1809 for his son Joseph after the discovery of a bed of fine stoneware clay in 1806. The factory produced domestic salt glazed stoneware together with some sprigged decorated vessels and spirit flasks in the form of personalities of the day, these are often referred to as "Reform Flasks. 

Their earliest art pottery were a few novelty Denby Majolica items; a name given to a very high gloss mottled streaky glaze usually in dark blue or tans and rarely green. 

The most often encountered is the pig money box. Usually decorated with a dedication,  often a name. Probably given as christening or birthday presents. These are usually broken as the front legs and ears are fragile. Although introduced in the 1890's these piggies are seen dated up to the 1920's.

The first significant art pottery range was introduced in c1895, the result of a collaboration with the ceramic artist Horace Elliot. These wares are easy to recognise from the grey with a blue wash decoration. Usually sgraffito patterns with mottos, sometimes written in esperanto. Subjects include political events, Relief of Mafeking, Royalty, Primrose League together with the pig. Horace Elliot's association with Denby continued in c1934 with later items marked with Elliot's registered trademark of a fleur de lys within a cartouche.
See - for examples.

Horace Elliot, born in 1851 was the son of an architect and was a career ceramic artist. He had studios and retails premises in London. He worked in close collaboration with the Jenkin's Ewenny Pottery, spending long periods their craeting his wares. He also worked with C H Brannam in Devon as well as at Denby.

In addition to Elliot ware sgraffito decorated pottery was made c1900 and decorated by James Wheeler. Similar to but probably inferior to Doulton Lambeth ware by Hannah Barlow. Also a few Martin Bothers vases have been spotted marked Denby. Either they worked briefly at the pottery or used the Denby stoneware clay.

There are several book on the subject. Click on the titles to find a copy.
Denby Pottery 1809-1997: Dynasties and Designers
Denby Stonewares: A Collector's Guide


This is part one of a continuing series on art pottery at Bourne Denby.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Eric Bradbury - Art Pottery Figures #8

 I have seen a few pottery figures and sculptures by Eric Bradbury but the one here is the first I have owned. It is a very well modelled figure of a boy about to eat an apple. I don't know whether this is after a renaissance original or from his own imagination. The usual questions are asked of who, where and when ?

The easy bit was looking in the usual art indexes and references from which we found that Eric Bradbury (1881-1954) was a sculptor and designer who studied at the Lambeth School of Art winning 3 silver and 1 bronze medals.

He lived in Clapham, London and Ringmer in Sussex. He is known to have made glazed pottery figural sculptures, exhibiting widely including at the Walker Gallery 9 works and at
 the Royal Academy 9 works.

Filling in details has been difficult but here are a few facts;

He was awarded first prize in the design category of the 1904  
Gilbert-Garret Competition for Sketching Clubs at the Royal College of Art for a work titled "A Procession". Possibly the one pictured below. 
There is also a short reference to an Eric Bradbury winning the prize for a design for a fan at the 1909 Lambeth Art Club (The International Studio 1909)

He also won a first prize in The Civic Arts War Memorial Competition 1916 in the wall tablet category with a design which had "a portrait bust in low relief, very neat and becoming, with a prettily suggested frieze of figures up either side of a square panel" (The Building News 1916). I have not been able to find a picture of this panel. 

Other notable winner in this competition included; Eric Gill, Allan Wyon and Wilfrid Norton.

The only item by Eric that I have handled is the boy shown above. It is clearly marked and signed "Eric Bradbury, Ringmer", England"

He is not to be confused with the Eric Bradbury (1921-2001) who was a comic book illustrator who worked on 2000AD, Comet, Valiant, Buster and Eagle

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Morris Cox - Printmaker

It is surprising how we find new and interesting artist. I discovered Morris Cox when after finding an example of a woodblock print by an artist I consciously seek to buy in an online auction catalogue I as usual paged through the rest of the sale and the only other lot that was to my taste was a woodblock print of a cat and others. So there they were Morris Cox signed prints - but who was he.

 Morris Cox (1903-98) was a writer, artist, printmaker. He had won a place at West Ham School of Art in 1916 when he was just 13. In the late 1920s he worked in advertising. Disliking the job, he turned to printmaking, painting, designing book jackets, writing novels & poetry and briefly running a shop in Sicilian Arcade selling only his own work. 

During the Second World War he was team leader in the Civil Defence Light Rescue Service throughout the Blitz.
He established the Gogmagog Press in 1957, "essentially an ultra-simple, one-man affair", resolving to print his own work in his own way thereafter. 35 highly original beautifully illustrated, hand-made limited edition books followed between 1957 and 1983.

In 1991 a bibliography and appreciation was published: 'Morris Cox and the Gogmagog Press,' Private Libraries Association. Cox also produced colour linocuts from 1930, and painted in oil and watercolour for over 60 years.

In 1994 the Victoria & Albert Museum held an exhibition to celebrate their acquisition of Cox's personal archive of Gogmagog books and early colour prints. Katharine House Gallery held a substantial and successful exhibition of Cox's paintings, prints and books in 2005.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Duxhurst & Deborah Harding

Pottery marked as Duxhurst will be new to most readers and even locally to where it was made few have heard of it. I have only ever seen 6 or 7 examples all of which where competently thrown with neatly applied handles to the jugs. Yet I do not know who made it !

Firstly, I will introduce you to the Duxhurst part of the mystery.

The Duxhurst Pottery was associated with the Duxhurst Colony established in 1896 near Reigate, Surrey. The Colony has an interesting history and has been the subject of a recent exhibition.

The colony was established in 1896 with the aims of the rehabilitation of Women addicted to the evils of drink and who had been given the option by the Courts, either prison or the Colony. It was a project of Lady Henry Somerset and the lease was owned by the British Women's Temperance Association. After Lady Somerset died in 1921 and by 1923 the colony had become the Princess Marie Louise Village for Gentlefolk and it was advertised for sale in the times in 1936.

It is not known for sure which period the pottery dates from or who the pottery instructor was. They feel more 1920's than c1900 if you know what I mean. The Blue jug illustrated above and decorated with a silver lustre pattern has impressed Duxhurst marks and marked D.N.H Letchworth. This was for Deborah N Harding, who was a potter who is recorded as having been working in Letchworth, Hertfordshire in the 1920's and 1930's. The V&A collection contains her work. Her connection with Duxhurst is not known. Whether she acquired the pots to decorate or assisted in their making is not known.

Another clue is that they exhibited at the 1922 British Industries Fair hold at the White City, Shepherd Bush, London. They were listed as 
Manufacturers of Earthenware Goods, Casseroles, and Cooking Ware, Butter Coolers, Coffee Pots, Jugs and Domestic Earthenware. (Stand No. G.31a). so ones assumes it was a commerical concern not just occupational therapy.

Click on images to enlarge to full size.

Sadly very little evidence of the colony exists to day. Use the links below for more information.

All the pots I have encountered have had impressed marks. I doubt that there would a reliable way to attribute unmarked items.

The other side of the mystery is the Deborah Harding connection. Was she the teacher or did she just acquire the pot and then decorate it.

Deborah Harding (1903-91) was known as a studio potter who lived in Letchworth, Hertfordshire. She studied at the Central School of Arts and Crafts and at the Royal College of Art. During the 1920's and 30's she established a studio called Wynd and during this period she exhibited at the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, the Paris Exhibition and at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Her work was reviewed in the Studio magazine with the Three Shields Gallery stocking her work. She was known to have taught at a children's school and perhaps this is the connection to Duxhurst. Her potting ended on the outbreak of WW2.


Saturday, 12 February 2011

Arthur Rigden Read - Printmaker

 A bit of a continuing theme this week. I am going through some of my favourite print makers, especially those who had mastered the art of woodblock printing. Here is another Sussex based art living little way down the coast from Eric Slater, I wonder if they knew each other. Neither artist used the key lines as often seen in Japanese art. However, their subject matter appear to be completely different, as from the small selections I have seen. Eric Slater's prints are predominately landscapes with some floral still life studies whilst Rigden-Read concentrates of figural studies and floral still lifes, few landscapes. A few years ago when I tried researching him I found very little, but now with the power of googling all sorts of information has crept out.

Arthur Ridgen Read (1879-1955) was born in Bermondsey, London. He was one of 5 boys. His father, also Arthur Rigden Read (b1855) was a Postmaster and his mother was Elizabeth. Although christened Arthur Robert he used the name Rigden. He lived in The Dower House, Winchelsea, Sussex. There is an interesting discussion board online about him, which fills in a few gaps in the story. It does confirm that he travelled including visiting Japan, perhaps during his study. Whilst there he was awarded a gold medal his donations or help during a large scale tragedy.

He is recorded as exhibiting between     1923 and 1940. Including at;
Beaux Arts Gallery
Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts
Walker Gallery, Liverpool
Royal Academy
Redfern Gallery
Royal Scottish Soc of Painters in Water colours

His prints are usually signed, titled and numbered in pencil.

His work must have been considered worthy in his day as a version of "Roses" print is illustrated in the 1927 book "The Woodcut of To-Day at Home and Abroad" page 46 by the art critic Malcolm C Salaman.

The version shown on the right is probably a pre edition proof as it varies in detail to that shown in the book.

Online references state in the Colour Print Club Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1,1931 he is listed as the first member and as a vice-president of the club together with, William Giles, Sidney Lee, William Monk, Allen W. Seaby, Y. Urushibara and E. A. Verpilleux. He is also listed as a Member of the Society of Graver-Printers in Colour.

His work is represent in many private and public collections, including 10 prints in the British Museum Collection, Auckland Art Gallery (5 works) and the Brooklyn Museum.

There are quite a few references to titles of prints and it would be possible to create an inventory. Perhaps for the next posting ?

Internet refernces include

Friday, 11 February 2011

Sidney Tushingham - Printmaker

Sidney Tushingham 1884-1968 was an artist printmaker whose work has largely been over looked by the modern collector. Many of his pictures were typical 1920's black line etchings of topographical views and buildings, so fashionable then but not so much with the modern homemaker. They are technically excellent and well observed studies, some of the western counties and others of Italian cities.

The images that interest me are his delightful studies of babies and children; either as portraits or at play. The portrait type studies such as Betty or Infant Playing are real children not just caricatures like Eileen Soper. His children at play are easily as charming as Soper or J H Dowb. One has to wonder whether these are family !!

He was a painter and etcher born in Burslem and distantly related to the pottery pioneer Ralph Wood. He studied at the Burslem School of Art winning the Scholarship for Painting which allowed him to study at the Royal College of Art. He worked in the West country, Spain and Italy.

The majority of his published etchings are detailed in 2 catalogues published by the gallery James Connell & Sons Ltd, London and Glasgow. 
His etchings were published in very small edition sizes. The individual prints are not numbered so reference to the catalogues is essential.

His etchings are usually signed in pencil and monogrammed within the plate.

Extensive record of exhibited works. Including at;
Abbey Gallery
Connell & Son Gallery
Royal Academy
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
Glasgow Inst of the Fine Arts
Fine Art Society
International Society
Royal Scottish Academy
Royal Soc of Painter-Etchers & Engravers

Within his life time examples of his work were held in many public/corporation collections. 
Including; British Museum, Walker Gallery Liverpool, Glasgow Art Gallery, Stoke on Trent Art Gallery, Cardiff Art Gallery, Derby Art Gallery, Southport Art Gallery, Bootle Art Gallery, New York Public Library, Art Institute Chicago, Californian State Library and the Museum of History, Science and Art, Los Angeles.



Thursday, 10 February 2011

Eric Slater (1896-1963) - Printmaker

 Over the years I have bought and sold a few coloured wood block prints signed Eric Slater. They are mainly views on the south coast and a few floral studies. But I can't find any biographical details about his life, where he trained or the extent of his out put. The published dates for him are questionable as he is often taken to be the same man as the Eric Slater who designed for Wileman Shelley. So here we go with what I believe to be correct

Eric Slater was a Sussex based artist    living in Seaford and Winchelsea. He specialist in wood block printing often of Sussex landscapes such as the Jack & Jill windmills and the Seven Sisters cliffs.

His best known work The Stackyard was published in 1938 by the Woodcut Society of Kansas and presented in a folder with an introduction by Campbell Dodgson. Seen regularly on US dealer website with large asking prices.

He exhibited between 1928 and 1937 at
Beaux Arts Gallery 5 works
Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts 12
Walker gallery, Liverpool 4

His work is usually signed and titled in pencil and no edition size.

These are lovely images usually created without the use of key lines to tie the blocks of colour together. It is surprising that so little is known about him. 

I have noticed in the last few months that their prices at auction have shot up. So much so that images covered with foxing and staining are making noticeably more than versions that I have sold that have clean bright images in new gallery frames. This may be caused by just a few new buyers and could easily return to a more affordable range of prices.

Click on thumbnail image to enlarge

His work can be found in several public collections including; Auckland Art Gallery in New Zealand.

"Rough Sea"

 PLEASE NOTE - that this not the same artist that designed patterns for Wileman/Shelley. This is information has come direct from Eric "Shelley" Slater's daughter Louise Blackwall nee Slater. So as the both Eric's have a published date of birth as 1896, I can't be 100% sure on which is correct.

MORE INFORMATION - at last thorough research has been completed about this artist and now has his own website and book. See my latest posting on the subject - CLICK HERE

This blog is "free to all" with no joining fees - financed by the few clicks on sponsored adverts.