Thursday, 28 August 2014

De Porceleyne Fles - View Of Delft

Over many year I have bought and sold many decorative tiles marked on the back with a stylised pot and the word "Delft" -- but they weren't the tin glazed delft blue & white pottery that many old time antiques dealers used to sell; but brightly coloured 20th century patterns with a tubelined effect, a bit like Moorcroft.

... and here is an example that I have just bought.

....and here is the mark.

These tiles are not uncommon and are regularly seen on stalls at antiques markets in the UK. However, unless on a specialist applied art stand , they are always left unattributed or anounced as "they're delft, mate!!".

Even after the smallest of research you would established that they were made by the Dutch firm De Porceleyne Fles in the town of Delft in the Netherlands. This whole group of wares are refered to as "Cloisonné tiles" and were made from 1907 until as recently as 1977.

The view depicted on my tile is of Delft itself and the towers from the left are; The Oostpoort (Eastern gate), Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) and the Oude Kerk (Old church).... so I guess this is a view from the north?

Another famous Delft art connections is Johannes Vermmer (1632-1675) of the "Girl with pearl earing" fame. He lived, painted and died in Delft and remains there to this day as he is buried in the Oude Kerk. Here is his study of the Oostpoort and painting of the town.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Electra Zinn - Kallmeyer & Harjes

 "Electra Zinn" --  a maker that I was aware off but knew nothing about and had never owned anything by them !!! .... until I bought thi pair of silver plated beakers decorated with an extremely stylised foliate pattern -- pure "Austrian Secessionist" ... But who were Electra ???

 Actually not made by a firm called Electra but by the German firm Kallmeyer & Harjes of Gotha as part of their "Electra Zinn" range of art metalware and dating to c1900-10. Established by Philipp Harjes (1860-1933) and Hermann Kallmeyer in 1887; this large factory employed up to 500 people in 1909 making a diverse range of metal ware both industrial, domestic and decorative. Their decorative wares are scarce and are rarely seen in the UK.

The company marks seem to be an eagle with wing spread looking back over it's left shoulder, but it seems that only the pewter art wares are marked with "Electra". I have not been able to trace any of their copper or brass decoratives wares to confirm this.


Interestingly I found pictures of this ordinary pewter dish decorated with a weak art nouveau design marked "electra" but with a makers mark GKFAF ? which doesn't fit the name Kallmeyer & Harjes? From the pattern number, this dish is probably earlier; so I wonder if the Electra brand was bought by Kallmeyer & Harjes, thus acquiring an arty decorative line without the expense of development ??

Any information is welcome and these beakers are for sale (at the time of posting) on my website;

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Birmingham Guilds Tray

Here is another recent purchase, an unsigned arts and crafts copper tray decorated with a punched pattern on the outer rim. This caught my eye amongst a miriad of junk at a recent sale, It looked familiar but I couldn't quite recall the maker - for the money asked I just bought it. Attribution could wait, as I was sure that I would recall the name.

I could see from the construction that it was well made, planished with a hand rolled rim - all the hallmarks of a skilled maker - but no visable makers marks.

.... and then it came to  me !! it by The Birmingham Guild Ltd; of course it's obvious, those punched rim patterns and the crisp almost art deco forms are almost their signature. A few searchs of Google images quickly took me to a website selling a virtualy identical tray -- SEE below and theirs is signed with a stamped mark, which just confirmed the attribution.

Seen at

 "The Birmingham Guild Ltd" were the last flourishings of the "Birmingham Guild of Handicraft"; a company established c1890 as part of the Birmingham Kyrle Society. With Arthur Dixon and Montague Fordham as directors. They remained active into the 1950's and were still shown in directories as "The Birmingham Guild Ltd., Architectural & Decorative Metalworkers" of Grosvenor Road West and Sherbourne St. .

At the time of posting my tray was forsale at

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Eduard Hueck Edelzinn - Art Nouveau

This recent purchase reminded me of another quality but largely unknown (to Anglo's) German company who produced some well made bold art nouveau design pewter in the period from c1890 to c1915.

Decorated with stylised leaves forming a cartouche on the front, which would be ideal for a monogram or dedication. This example was not signed with a makers mark, but I had just sold a similar item that was fully marked on the underside with a moulded circular mark. This confirms thats the range of ware were called "Edelzinn" and that the shape number is 1847.

Metallwarenfabrik Eduard Hueck, to give them there full title, was established c1814 in the German town of Ludenscheid and still exist today, but no longer produce decorative art wares. Their art nouveau and secessionist designed ware are in my opinion the most pleasing. Several leading and well know designers are associated with them and it is known that Albin Muller (1871-1941) produced several design, which are marked with his AM monogram (see below).  Peter Behrens (1868-1940) and Joseph Maria Olbrich (1867-1908) are thought to have also designed various pieces for the company.

Typical marks seen and in age order - left c1890 and right c1905

two more examples that I have recently sold.

At the time of posting the top ewer is forsale on my sales website

Monday, 7 July 2014

A H Williamson (1907-1994)

Following on from the previous post  ... here I am trying to discover the story behand the art of the woodcut of Caterham.Initially I thought that I was not going to find much but one lead had led to another and so on .. and with luck I will be able to put a spot light on the commercial works of A H Williamson.

A quick search through online auction results failed to reveal much other than a reference to "oil on canvas "Henfield Common" signed A H Williamson" having sold and another titled "Crofter's Cottage, Isle of Skye" (sold $49 in 2004) - the latter result suggested a fuller name of Alexander H Williamson - this somehow led to the work below ....

 A mid 20th Century Printed Nautical Wall Hanging by A H Williamson

Described by the gallery offering it as "A wonderful mid 20th century presentation printed wall hanging by A H Williamson (Printer and Designer, Henfield, W. Sussex) depicting the history of various ships and sailing vessels produced at Yarrow and Co, Glasgow.Brass plaque inscribed "Presented by Yarrow and Co Ltd, Stockstown, Glasgow." Offered with a price of £4250 by

Wow --- $49 to £4250 that is quite some range of values !!

... but Alexander wasn't known as Alexander to the art or commercial world but as "Hardie Williamson" and I now know that he was born in Hull, Yorkshire in 1907 (reference Artists in Britain Since 1945 ) but as a boy his family moved to Edinburgh where he later attended George Heriot's School followed by further study at the Royal College of Art, Design School, graduating in 1932. He went on to teach fabric design at the school, even after it's evacuation to the Ambleside in the Lake District during WWII.

Commercailly he was a prolific designer, apparently creating almost 1650 shapes for Ravenhead Glass ! From 1947, he was employed as consultant designer and during the 27 years he was with the company, he created designs that were produced in their millions for public houses and restaurants and included the Paris goblet, the Dimple beer mug and the Babycham-style Champagne glass. He also designed a range of tableware, the Kilner jar and a collectable range of decorated tumblers.

 .... and we have all drank from these, you have probably got one in the cupboard !!
but do you remember these ??

To best appeciate Hardie Williamson's glass designs, you must visit - 
 They have 100's of designs illustrated.

His design talents weren't limited to glass, he also created designs for the covers and endpaper of Dent Dutton's "the Childrens Illustrated Classic" produced between 1946 and 1974, a series which ran to over 90 titles. Below are 3 examples of covers with his border designs, Pinocchio also had end papers illustrated by him.

.... Woodcuts, oils, glass and commercial illustration !! what next ?? Royal Worcester fine porcelain !! Below is shown one of a series of botanical designs used on plates and marked with a special back stamp comfirming "Designed by A H Williamson". The R with 9 dots suggests a date of production as 1959, a time when he was also disgning for Dent and Ravenhead, a busy man!

A talented artist, who could apply his skills to so many media, but like so many commercial artist, largely foregotten and under-rated by the masses but highly appreciated by the a hardcore of collectors. He was married to the artist Susan Plowright in 1939 and they finally settled in Worthing, Sussex via the Lake District and Henfield. I wasn't able to find any pictures by her to complete the story, I would like to think taht they are still out there.

I hope I have got this correct and haven't attributed the works of another A H Williamson.

Monday, 30 June 2014

A H Williamson - A Woodcut of Caterham

I have had this image stored on the computer for quite sometime and I don't know why I haven't tried any research. It's a woodcut titled "Caterham" by an artist A H Williamson, dated 1933, which came up for auction last year and if I recall correctly it sold for about £20 !! sadly; a typical price at auction for small woodcuts.

I like these austere inter-war period woodcuts, very much in the style of Hughes Blair-Stanton or Paul Nash. Very masculine, quite depressing, an under tone of malevolence. Which isn't true of the view, Caterham is a pleasant commuter town in the Surrey Hills and I am farely sure that this is Church Hill.

A very similar view of Church Hill.
Wooden fence and trees, even the slope on the right look correct. 

and here is an old black and white photo dating to c1925 from the Frith Archive - Link

.... and the artist "A H Williamson" ?? I am begining to believe that it is Alexander Hardie Williamson but currently I am not positive. I am researching a few tendrils of information and I will post again soon.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Delores del Rio - Female Latin Lover

Have you ever watched "Flying Down to Rio" ?? You know; the one you think starred Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire ! Whilst it may have made the dancing duo "stars", they were not the top billed name. That privilege went to the breath-takingly beautiful Mexican actress Delores del Rio (1905-1983) 

 Dolores del Río was a Mexican born film actress; a star in Hollywood in the 1920s and 1930s before establishing herself as one of the most important female figures of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema in the 1940s and 1950s. She was considered one of the most beautiful women of her time, a mythical figure in Latin America and quintessential representation of the feminine face of Mexico to the world.

During the 1920's and 1930's in Hollywood, Dolores was considered one of the most beautiful women of her time, a sort of female version of Rudolph Valentino, the "Latin lover" in the silent films. Her career flourished at the end of the silent era, with success in films such as; Resurrection (1927), Ramona (1928) and Evangeline (1929). Unlike many other established silent stars she was easily able to adapt to the talkies. She featured in such successful films as; Bird of Paradise (1932), Flying Down to Rio (1933), Madame Du Barry,Wonder Bar (1934) and Journey into Fear (1942).

 Of course their was more to Delores, she was married to the MGM's art designer Cedric Gibbons and also had a four-year relationship with Orson Welles, who was 10 years her junior. The result of a teenage infatuation, having fallen in love with after seening in the 1932 film, Bird Of Paradise. He considered her the great love of his life;“The most intense and volcanic passion I had in my life.

Sadly her star in Hollywood began to fade after she refused to be cast in the anti-Mexican film, Viva Villa! in 1935; her refusal led to her contract with Warner Bros being cancelled and in effect marked the start of the end of her Hollywood career. This combined with a change tastes, the "exotic latin lover" star had had it's day but studios refuse to cast her in more challenging roles where they prefered to cast more box office safe, American actresses. She did appear in several films during the late 1930's, but nothing that you would wish to view, the straight to video types.

Hollywood's loss was the Mexican film industries gain, where she appeared in over 20 films plus many TV appearances. There were a few also a few more Mainstream Hollywood films such as John Ford's 1947 film, The Fugitive with Henry Fonda, Flaming Star (1960) with Elvis Presley and Barbara Eden and another John Ford production with his 1964 Western Cheyenne Autumn, where part listed simply as "Spanish Women"

"Delores Dio Rio" etching in colour by Frank Martin (1921-2005)
Her box office power may have waned but her beauty is eternal, captured on film, in photographs and expressed in many graphic forms; Posters, Fanzines and Art.

Classic 1930's commercial art form the covers of fanzines.
Try and track down some of her films --