Saturday, 30 April 2011

Barry Pittar - Art Pottery Figures #10

A recent lucky find has reminded me of this artist and the quality of his modelling.

Very few of my followers would have encountered Barry (1878-1948) before as his out put would to be limited in number and range of retail outlets. So here is another artist in continuing series on art pottery figure artists.

Here are some facts;

Thomas Frederick Barry Pittar was born in 1878 and is recorded as a painter, architect, etcher, poster artist and ceramicist. Known to have lived in  London in 1919 and Dunstable, Bedfordshire c1924.

He studied at the Royal College of Art and St John's Wood Art School. He was an Associate of the Royal Society of British Artists (RBA) from 1919 and a full member in 1920. He was also a Fellow of the Zoological Society. The FZS initials incised on the figures. A picture of St Michael's Mount was used by the Great Western Railway for an advertising poster.

He exhibited widely including;
Abbey Gallery - 1
Fine Art Society - 65
Grosvenor Gallery - 3
Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts - 1
Royal Society of British Artists - 143
Royal Institute of Oil Painters - 1
Royal Scottish Academy - 10

He is known to have worked at the Doulton Potteries in Lambeth from c1895 until c1905; after which he appears to have tried to live as a painter/artist. He had a studio in London before moving to the Hogarth Studio in Bushey, Hertfordshire; a well established artist colony. He established his studio/pottery in the back garden of his house, "Little Cheverells" in Markyate near St Albans in c1930 where he was assisted by his wife Edith. The animal models would appear to date from this period.

Interestingly he is listed in the 1936 Kelly's Trade directory as an Art Pottery Maker at Whipsnade. Perhaps, some of the figures are of the animals at the Zoo?

After Barry died in 1948, Edith moved to "Barina Cottage" next door and continued to pot, making item such as Toby jugs marked "Barina Ware" and/or "St Albans Ware"

I think the only reliable way to identify his pottery is when marked. The 3 pieces I have owned all had clear incised marks. The picture below is a typical example. The modelling is very good but the pottery is fragile. Subjects seen include, Seal, Alsation, Rabbit, Polar Bear, Flying Ducks and Toby jugs.

For more pictures of the Rabbit try - whilst stocks last.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Auguste Lepère (1849-1918)

Just a short post today.

Here, I have an interesting single block, black on white woodcut of trees. At first I failed to to appreciate this work of art and was about to discard it. ( not really, but consign it to the lower value bin). It has a bit of a Monet impressionist plein air feel to it. You know the ones of the poplar trees.

It had come to me with a group of works which include some fine prints, so perhaps this is more interesting ? First problem ? which artist ?


Signed with a squiggle in pencil and monogrammed LA ? No, after a bit googling and head scratching the monogram became AL and the signature A Lepere and so to; Auguste Lepère (1849-1918).

He is accepted as being amoungst the finest French wood engravers. Lepère was born in Paris and the age of thirteen, he began his artistic education in the Paris studio of the engraver, Smeeton. Lepere went on to teach Lucien Pissaro and Pierre Gusman the art of wood engraving. His woodcuts and wood engravings tend to be from late in his career. They are often printed on the light weight Japan papers, rarely seen on French prints of this period. In total his graphic oeuvre consists of over 150 etchings, over two hundred wood engravings and 14 lithographs

For prints and works of art try -

Friday, 8 April 2011

Crowan Pottery

I recently found this delightful piece of studio pottery in a local charity shop. I was pleased to help them raise money for their good cause and have the pleasure of this work of art, far better reward than a sticky badge!

Here goes for the story !! I often find that I derive as much pleasure from the research and investigating the histories than simply owning the object, after all without the history it is just a brown pot with a squiggle painted on it.

This is want us Brits call studio pottery, distinct from art pottery which is subtly different. In this case from the Crowan Pottery which was run by Harry and May Davis in Cornwall. Harry has a good pottery pedigree with all the necessary Leach and Cardew associations and his inclusion in public collections such as the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Harry Davis (1911-86) studied at the Bournemouth School of Art before working at a small pottery in Broadstone, Dorset. By 1932 he was working with Bernard Leach at Dartington before helping run the Leach St Ives pottery during the period 1933 until 1937. This was a period when both Bernard and his son David where absent. From there he was teaching in Ghana, a position later taken by Michael Cardew before establishing the Crowan Pottery.

Harry worked in partnership with his wife May and together the established the Crowan Pottery at Praze in Cornwall in c1946. It during this period that the pot shown was created. These pots a have real tactile quality with a deep rich celadon type glaze. Not like the Leach tradition of crude looking pots with thin textured glazes, however genunely artist they are.

The majority of item produced were domestic tea, coffee and dinner ware with a smaller but significant number of decorative items. The 3 items in the V&A collection are a bowl, teapot and a coffee pot similar in decoration to the above. The wares are usually marked with an impressed CP monogram seal, although it can be difficult to see through the lovely running thick glazes. The pottery continued until it's closure in 1962 after which the couple emigrated to New Zealand to established a pottery called Crewenna.

These pots are well worth looking out for and once handled, their distinctive feel makes them easier to spot across a crowded field of happy booters. 

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Charles & Madeleine Nightingale

The lovely girl to the right is "Echo" the mountain nymph and would be suitor of the vain Narcissus. As we know she was spurned by Narcissis in favour of his own reflection. This left Echo heartbroken to spend the rest of her life in lonely glens pining away for the love she never knew, crying until all that was left was her voice. Destined to repeat the last words she heard fading away to nothing.

The picture, which I bought and sold a few years ago, is a woodcut print signed, titled and dated 1922 by the artist Charles Thrupp Nightingale who exhibited between 1922 and 1927.

He exhibited works at;
Royal Society of Artists, Birmingham
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
Royal Academy
Royal Scottish Academy

With a little more research we find that  he was an artist and illustrator who specialized in wood engraving. He is recorded as living at the Old Cottage Biggin Hill, Kent. He illustrated a number of books written by Madeleine Nightingale, who I presume was his wife. 
Titles include include; The Babe's Book of Verse (1918), Verse Wise and Otherwise (1918),  Boggarty Ballads (1923), Ring A Ring O' Fairies (1924) Farmyard Ditties, The Magic Stuff Box and Adeste Fideles.

As you can guess from the titles most of the collaborations are fairy and magic stories for children and form a series titled "The Nightingale Books". From the ones I have seen, they are pretty little books beautifully printed and illustrated. The various other photographs are of the 1924 edition of The Babe's Book of Verse.

Some time ago I was contacted by the son in law of the lady above, who was still alive. If I recall correctly it was the artists daughter. She still has some of the original blocks for his prints as well as numerous originals. Sadly the emailed information was lost when I changed computers !! I hope this posting might prompt the family to add more information.

I am struggling to find any specific biographical details about these two. There is a reference to Madeleine being born in 1879 but that is all and for Charles a year of birth of 1878. From the London Gazette dated 29th July 1915 a Charles Thrupp Nightingale of the 28th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (Artists Rifles) was promoted from Private to Second Lieutenant. I would imagine that this is our man but there the trail ends.

Similar to Echo is this picture titled Reverie dated 1923. There is a copy of this in the Victoria and Albert Museum collection and they catalogue it as a wood engraving. Other works are in the collections of the British Museum (13 items including a version of "Echo")

August 2011,
I have recently recieved more information from the family, who confirm that Charles Thrupp Nightingale was born in 1878 and died in 1939. Also that Madeleine was his wife, they married in 1908 and she was born Madeleine E Thrift in 1880 in the Coventry area, the daughter of John E Thrift and his wife Fanny.

Here is another book plate by Charles.