auctioneers and valuers
Nic Saintey
On this page....
Archive
<November 2013>
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
272829303112
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
1234567

RSS 2.0     Atom 1.0     CDF

Summary
Search
Navigation
Categories
Blog Roll
About Nic Saintey
Nic Saintey is a director and a specialist in ceramics. His effervescent nature and wide experience has seen him regularly appear as an expert on the BBC's Bargain Hunt and Flog It programmes
Contact Nic Saintey
 EMail Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood Ltd Email Me
Sign In
Disclaimer
The material published in this web log is for general purposes only. It does not constitute nor is it intended to represent professional advice. You should always seek specific professional advice in relation to particular issues. The information in this web log is provided "as is" with no warranties and confers no rights. The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions.

Home | The Fine Art Bloggers | About Blogging | About Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood | Our Salerooms | Future Sales | Contact Us

Review Entries for Day Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Frederick Alfred Rhead’s marriage to Adolphine, the daughter of Charles Frederick Hurten (a flower painter latterly employed by Copeland) produced six offspring four of whom ensured that the Rhead dynasty remained active in the ceramics industry for a further generation.

The eldest Frederick Hurten Rhead (1880-1932) was apprenticed to his father at the Brownfield Guild Pottery moving with him when he left for Wileman & Co when at the age of nineteen, in 1899, he was appointed art director at Wardle & Co. Within three years, however, he had left for America working for a series of concerns in the following decade or so that included the Avon Pottery, Roseville and the American Encaustic Tile Company as well as a number of teaching posts and setting up his own pottery.

 an early example of frederick hurten rhead's work for wardle & co.

An early example of Frederick Hurten Rhead's work for Wardle & Co. (FS21)

Harry Rhead (1881-1950) had a journey very much in his brother’s footsteps as he also went to Brownfield’s under his father, followed him to Wileman & Co and took over at Wardle & Co when his elder sibling emigrated only to do the same and take over at Roseville from 1908-1917 before going his own way in America setting up his own tile business in 1923.

 a charlotte rhead for bursley ware pottery ewer circa 1922

A Charlotte Rhead for Bursley Ware pottery ewer circa 1922  (EX81)

Charlotte (Lottie) Rhead (1885-1947) really had no choice about her career with both her brothers immersed in the industry and her father bringing home his work. From an early age, she and her younger sister Adolphine (Dollie) Rhead (1888-1981) were introduced to tubelining.

In 1903, at the age of sixteen, she and her sister were competent enough to join her elder brother and father at Wileman & Co. When he left he found the girls places at Keeling & Co, but as they didn’t use tubelining, this proved to be a stopgap until they joined the short lived Barker Rhead & Co concern. When this collapsed in 1910, Dollie Rhead trained as a midwife (although never forgot her tubelining skills) and Lottie Rhead continued decorating tiles for T & R Boote before joining her father in 1912 at Wood & Co (Bursley Ware). She finally got her independent break as a designer for Burgess & Leigh (Burleigh) in 1926, only to leave left four years later to fulfil a similar post at AG Richardson (Crown Ducal) until 1941 where she completed her career with HJ Woods.

 a houseproud frederick alfred rhead and his wife adolphine

 A houseproud Frederick Alfred Rhead and his wife Adolphine

By way of adding a little ‘colour’ to the story, I have also added a black and white photograph of Frederick Alfred Rhead and his wife Adolphine outside a chalet bungalow named Crosby – it isn’t mentioned as one of the six properties the family inhabited in either of Bernard Bumpus’ books, does anybody know where it is?

More about Nic Saintey

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 9:02:12 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Comments [0] Art Deco Pottery | Art Pottery | Modern Ceramics | Rhead Pottery | The Antiques Business | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Sunday, November 24, 2013

Having mentioned the Rhead family in my last blog, I thought I ought to add some bite sized detail of the principle family members starting with George Woolliscroft Rhead (1832-1908). He was part of a family associated with the pottery industry for many years, primarily remembered as an artist, illustrator and particularly an art teacher up until 1900, but was employed as a gilder by Minton. Three of his offspring George Woolliscroft Rhead Junior, Frederick Alfred Rhead and Louis Rhead also started out with Minton.

 a minton charger painted by george woolliscroft jnr

A Minton charger painted by George Woolliscroft jnr

The younger George Woolliscroft Rhead (1854-1920) served his time under WS Coleman, latterly at the Kensington Gore Studios, got a scholarship to study art and etching in London, gaining a teaching certificate along the way. Eventually teaching in London and also undertaking freelance painting and etching for Doulton and Wedgwood.

 a sumptious plaque attributed to louis rhead

A sumptious plaque attributed to Louis Rhead

Frederick Alfred Rhead (1856-1933) was perhaps the most dynamic. He studied under his father then at the age of thirteen he was apprenticed to Louis Solon, widely regarded as the master of the pate sur pate technique. In 1878, he was employed by Wedgwood, by 1887 he spent a brief period with James Gildea, a year later whilst at  EJD Bodley he was responsible for executing the Gladstone Vase (see my last blog). Shortly after this he was at Brownfield’s until 1897 before joining Wileman & Co as art director until 1905. Thereafter, he was freelance for three years before entering into the partnership of Barker Rhead & Co (Atlas Tile Works), which failed two years later in 1910 causing his family some considerable hardship, after which he decamped to America. However, in less than a year he returned taking up a post with Wood & Sons from 1912-27.

 a frederick alfred rhead pate sur pate plaque depicting the flatterers net from bunyans pilgrim's progress

A Frederick Alfred Rhead pate sur pate plaque depicting the Flatterers Net from Bunyans Pilgrim's Progress

Three years before joining Minton, in 1873, as a painter Louis Rhead (1858-1926) studied figure drawing in Paris. He joined his brother at Wedgwood in 1878, where he exhibited at the Paris Exhibition to acclaim. He continued his art education in London freelancing for Wedgwood until he emigrated to America in 1883 where he concentrated primarily on his artwork and book illustration.

More about Nic Saintey

Sunday, November 24, 2013 8:02:24 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Comments [0] Art Pottery | General | Rhead Pottery | The Antiques Business | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Friday, November 22, 2013

Every now and then a good job comes along, one that really engages your attention, something that has interesting pieces with a story to tell, an opportunity to research something novel, every day a new connection or discovery. Well for me the last two weeks has been just like that having been instructed to deal with the estate of the late Richard Harry Rhead-Cronin and prepare it for sale here in Exeter.

 a typical tubelined tile by charlotte rhead

A typical tubelined tile by Charlotte Rhead (EX81)

Anybody with a passing interest in ceramics will certainly be aware of the name Rhead and most probably with Charlotte Rhead who unfairly is seen as something of a princess when compared the queen-like Art Deco status of Clarice Cliff or Susie Cooper.

 charlotte rhead (standing) and her youngest sister adolphine rhead in playful mood

Charlotte Rhead (standing) and her youngest sister Adolphine Rhead in playful mood

Charlotte Rhead was part of a third generation of Rheads, a potting dynasty that started with George Woolliscroft Rhead, included four of his eleven children George Woolliscroft Rhead Jnr, Frederick Alfred Rhead, Louis Rhead and Fanny Rhead. It continued with four of Frederick Alfred’s six children Frederick Hurten Rhead, Harry Rhead, Marie Rhead, Charlotte Rhead, Katherine Rhead and Adolphine Rhead. They all worked closely with the Staffordshire (and also American) ceramics industry as well being talented painters and illustrators.

 frederick rhead

Frederick Rhead

Their contribution is sizeable having worked for 20-30 different concerns, including their own. Despite their significance, it is curious that there have only been two published works, both by Bernard Bumpus, one a monograph to Charlotte Rhead, the second an extended version of the original which included other family members.

 frederick alfred rhead's artwork for the gladstone vase executed for ejd bodley

Frederick Alfred Rhead's artwork for the Gladstone vase executed for EJD Bodley (FS21)

I am excited about the next few weeks running up to the sales scheduled for 17th December 2013 and 21st/22nd January 2014 and whilst there are greater scholars than me out there I hope that by sharing the experience and by focussing on pieces from the Rhead-Cronin Collection we all might become a little more familiar with this talented family.

More about Nic Saintey

Friday, November 22, 2013 3:44:28 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Comments [0] Art Deco Pottery | Art Pottery | Modern Ceramics | Staffordshire Pottery | The Antiques Business | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Monday, April 22, 2013

When it comes to decorating porcelain plaques the Germans are at the forefront and particularly those at the KPM (Konigliche Porzellan Manufactur) manufactory in Berlin whose work was considered superior even to that at Meissen. The golden years were undoubtedly from 1840 through to around 1900.

 a k.p.m. berlin plaque of the young christ after hofmann circa 1890 - 1900

A KPM Berlin plaque of the Young Christ after Hofmann circa 1890 - 1900 (FS14/614)

The most popular plaques were painted with religious or mythological subject matter inhabited with coquettish maids or the scantily clad, but topographical scenes and faithful copies of existing paintings also featured. Raphael, Rubens, Rembrandt and Guido Reni were amongst those most commonly mimicked. Whilst only copies, they were of exceptional quality – you might think it is hard putting a brush to canvas, but I guess painting on a plaque and seeing how it fares in the kiln is perhaps more unpredictable. Once completed, a porcelain plaque has the benefit of retaining all the brightness of colour it had at conception and unlike paper or canvas it will not fade.

 a french porcelain plaque halt during a hunt after watteau, mid 19th century

A French porcelain plaque Halt during a Hunt after Watteau, mid 19th century (FS18/558)

Painting on porcelain was also undertaken in France and in Britain to a lesser degree. Illustrated is a mid 19th century plaque which with a little artistic licence is a copy of a 1720 work by Jean Antione Watteau entitled Halt during a Hunt, which is currently part of the Wallace Collection. However, my job is all about attention to detail, so I noticed that the rifles depicted were percussion rifles (not flintlocks) which weren’t invented in 1720. More concerning is that the pastoral idyll is broken by the fact that all of the rifles are not only primed ready to fire, but are in the hands of children, was there no Health and Safety?

detail of a french porcelain plaque halt during a hunt after watteau

Armed with a weapon from the future (FS18/558)

More about Nic Saintey

Monday, April 22, 2013 1:14:32 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Comments [0] Early Porcelain | General | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Sunday, April 21, 2013

You may have wondered why so much Chinese porcelain is referred to in French terms, anybody with a passing interest is familiar or should I say ‘au fait’ with the terms famille rose when referring to a palette of porcelain decoration that is primarily red or pink and famille verte if the choice of enamel is biased towards the green. These weren’t Chinese terms and weren’t used by them. The answer lies in the fact that the first European to document Chinese porcelain was Pere d’Entrecolles, a French Jesuit missionary who did so in a series of letters ‘back home’ in 1712.

  a chinese porcelain famille rose tureen and cover, qianlong 1736-96

 A Chinese porcelain famille rose tureen and cover, Qianlong 1736-96 (FS18/490)

Pere Entrecolles known as Yin Hongxu was something of an industrial spy who used technical knowledge, sharp observation and his influence on Catholic converts to gain knowledge of porcelain production whilst tending to his flock in Jingdezhen. It is ironic that Josiah Wedgwood who was so concerned about spies availed himself of Entrecolles published work and copied extracts into his commonplace book.

 a pair of chinese porcelain vases decorated in the famille verte palette, 19th century

A pair of Chinese porcelain vases decorated in the famille verte palette, 19th century (FS18/493)

Two thoughts have just occurred to me firstly whilst the terms famille jaune and famille noir are used why isn’t blue, which comprises the bulk of Chinese porcelain production, called famille bleu? The second rather more random thought is had Marco Polo, who was in China in the early 14th century, dictated the story of porcelain rather than a self aggrandising tale whilst in his prison cell we might have using terms like famiglia rosa  and famiglia verde to describe Chinese porcelain.

More about Nic Saintey

Sunday, April 21, 2013 12:37:20 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Comments [0] General | Oriental Ceramics | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Thursday, April 18, 2013

I was having something of a bad day when up pops an email request for a valuation that was titled ‘Blue and white pin trays’. I groan quietly to myself and opened the message wondering what form of words I was going to select in order to let the sender down gently. One can be blunt when delivering good news as it is always well received, but through experience, auctioneers have a tactfully extensive vocabulary for delivering disappointing news.

 a worcester porcelain butter boat in the transparent rock pattern circa 1758

A Worcester porcelain butter boat in the Transparent Rock pattern circa 1758 (FS18/550)

On opening the images, I was delighted to see a pair of First Period Worcester porcelain butter boats, not pin trays, but quaintly unnecessary leaf shaped cups for containing melted butter. Pleasantly surprised, I pulled down the relevant volume to find that they were a rarity from 1758 in a pattern known as The Transparent Rock. Named on account of there being a large piece of quartz in the foreground of a rather quirky landscape containing a tiny house…. and the book said the illustrated example was the only one known; quite a rarity and ironic as quartz is the second most abundant mineral on earth.

 the underside of a worcester porcelain butter boat with tiny workmans mark on the handle

The underside of a Worcester porcelain butter boat with tiny workmans mark on the handle (FS18/551)

So in our fine sale next week, there are two rare Worcester porcelain butter boats in the Transparent Rock pattern, or so I thought. My book is a 1981 first edition and it seems several more have since come to light including, can you believe it another being sold on the same day as ours? Just like buses, you wait ages for one, only for three to turn up all at once.

More about Nic Saintey

Thursday, April 18, 2013 11:23:10 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Comments [0] Early Porcelain | General | The Antiques Business | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The original ‘Portland’ vase was a tour de force of Roman cameo glass making that was first recorded circa 1600 and has since then had a colourful history. Amongst these was Cardinal Barberini the nephew of Pope Urban VIII whose family retained the vase for 150 years before it was sold to clear the gambling debts of the Princess Barberini-Colonna to a Scottish antiques dealer called James Byres in 1780. He treasured the vase so much that he had sixty plaster copies made by James Tassie which he sold along with the original.

 a pair of wedgwood pale blue jasper ware portland vases

A pair of Wedgwood pale blue jasper ware Portland vases (FS18/514)

Passing via William Hamilton it was purchased by the eccentric Dowager Duchess of Portland who was said to be ‘intoxicated only by empty vases’. On her death in 1785 her son the 3rd Duke of Portland purchased it at auction allowing Josiah Wedgwood to make porcelain copies of it provided he didn’t bid for it. Unfortunately even before Wedgwood got his hands on it, it was broken twice, and presumably this was when the beautifully carved, but obviously errant base was stuck on.

 wedgwood's copy of the errant base added to the original portland vase before 1785

Wedgwood's copy of the errant base added to the original Portland vase before 1785 (FS18/514)

The 4th Duke of Portland left it with the British Museum for safe keeping where in 1845 whilst on view, it was comprehensively smashed by an intoxicated Irishman. It was glued together, although thirty seven pieces could not be found. The 7th Duke failed to sell the vase at auction, but subsequently sold the vase to the museum in 1945, luckily the missing pieces were found shortly afterwards.

detail of a wedgwood portland vase showing the myth of peleus and thetis

Detail of a Wedgwood jasper ware Portland vase showing the myth of Peleus and Thetis (FS18/514)

More about Nic Saintey

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 10:46:06 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Comments [0] Early Porcelain | General | Glass | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Monday, April 15, 2013

Having mentioned the leonine characteristic of the rather bizarre kylin I thought I may stray into less fantastical territory and focus on the depiction of lions in Staffordshire pottery. However, having said as much I have found that the lion was considered a symbol of Resurrection because medieval belief had it that lion cubs were born dead for three days until their father breathed life into their faces.

 pair of staffordshire ralph wood lions, circa 1780

Pair of Staffordshire Ralph Wood lions, circa 1780 (FS18/509)

A more commonly held belief is that lions are masters of the animal race and are symbolic of fortitude and strength. In Chinese art they were sculpted by the entrances of buildings to ward off demons. They were also popular motif for the British whose demons were probably ‘The French’. They appear in both ferocious mode like the pair of Ralph Wood lions illustrated as well as the rather unsubtle political stance depicting the British Lion and Napoleon III. (for an image see my blog of 14th August) The lion is a motif that has stayed the course one only has to look at our national football or cricketing shirts or even the name of the British rugby team.

 a staffordshire perlware performing bear group circa 1820

A Staffordshire perlware Performing Bear group circa 1820 (FS18/508)

But back to our Staffordshire potters it seems that they were not averse to recycling the lion in a somewhat ignominious way. If you look closely at the Staffordshire performing bear group you will note that the handler’s dog is in fact a miniature lion forced to be a bit part player. How the mighty have fallen.

 detail of a staffordshire performing bear group, how the mighty have fallen

Detail of a Staffordshire Performing Bear group, how the mighty have fallen (FS18/508)

More about Nic Saintey

Monday, April 15, 2013 8:32:31 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Comments [0] Early Pottery | General | Staffordshire Pottery | Trackback

RSS 2.0 Feed

If you enjoyed reading an article on this blog, why not subscribe to the RSS 2.0 feed to receive future articles?
   
Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood Logo Visit the Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood Web Site if you want to learn more about this fine art auction house and valuers.