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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
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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.

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Review Entries for Day Thursday, November 28, 2013

In my line of business, I have heard the story ‘Granny was given it personally by Queen Victoria’ countless times and equally have drawn an incredulous face when I say ‘Can you prove it’. Of course, everyone wants their story to ring true, because previous or auspicious ownership can add value to an object. In short we are talking about provenance. The Rhead-Cronin Collection has provenance as good as it comes - the late Richard Harry Rhead-Cronin was the son of Marie Rhead, the eldest daughter of Frederick Alfred Rhead and sister of Frederick Hurten Rhead, Charlotte Rhead and Adolphine Rhead. So it means that the drawings, paintings and ceramics he accumulated were likely either to be gifted or retained within the family by intent.

 frederick alfred rhead an oil on board depicting a scene from the rubiayat of omar khayyam

Frederick Alfred Rhead an oil on board depicting 
a scene from the Rubiayat of Omar Khayyam (FS21)

One can only surmise why? There could be any number of reasons, personal pride in the work might be one, or maybe even the opposite…not sure about that one - lets put that back in a dark cupboard! They could be left over items from a spot of freelancing, private work on blanks removed from the factory or even personalised gifts passed within the family.

 frederick alfred rhead a pate sur pate vase depicting a scene from the rubiayat of omar khayyam

Frederick Alfred Rhead a pate sur pate vase depicting 
a scene from the Rubiayat of Omar Khayyam (FS21)

For me, the most interesting items are those accompanied by the original artwork things that tell a story of work in progress such as the oil on board painted by Frederick Alfred Rhead that appears with several adjustments in stunning pate sur pate on what looks to be a Minton blank. It depicts a line from verse forty eight of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. ‘And when the angel with his darker draught draws up to thee, take that and do not shrink’. One wonders whether the painting was actually intended as a working study for the vase or whether he sought inspiration from it at some later point. In transition from board to porcelain the colour of the cloak has changed, almost certainly to accommodate the limitations of the pate sur pate technique which is most effective in white and also it seems our angel has changed sex.

 frederick alfred rhead a source watercolour and a tubelined plaque

Frederick Alfred Rhead a source watercolour and a tubelined plaque (FS21)

Another watercolour by Frederick seems far more straightforward as an almost direct template that was subsequently used as a tile design although one wonders whether it was he or Charlotte that actually undertook the tubelining for it. I am pretty sure it is her work, but what do you think?

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Thursday, November 28, 2013 11:06:59 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Comments [0] Art Pottery | General | Modern Ceramics | Rhead Pottery | The Antiques Business | Trackback

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?

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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.

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Sunday, November 24, 2013 8:02:24 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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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.

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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

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