Friday, 4 April 2008

Birkenhead Pottery


At the Birkenhead flea market all the regular traders are for ever on the look out for new folk who may have some unknown little treasure that they are virtually giving away. Among the local items worth keeping an eye open for are Birkenhead pottery items.

The Della Robbia Pottery factory was founded in 1894 in Birkenhead by Harold Rathbone and Conrad Dressler (1856-1940) . Rathbone had been a pupil of Ford Madox Brown, who was one of the founders of the Arts and Crafts movement. Dressler was a sculptor and also an inventor of a type of kiln. However Rathbone was not a businessman and so Dressler left after three years. The pottery closed in 1906.

The firm specialized in tiles, earthenware and particularly relief plaques inspired by the work of the Florentine sculptor Luca della Robbia and his family. Local red clay from Moreton, Cheshire, was used. The pottery had lustrous lead glazes and often used patterns of interweaving plants, typical of Art Nouveau, with heraldic and Islamic motifs.

The Della Robbia mark is usually handwritten on the base of pieces with a ship device, and often the initials of the designer and decorator, and sometimes the date. Della Robbia art pottery was widely sold by Liberty & Co. A large collection of Della Robbia pottery can be seen at the Williamson Art Gallery in Birkenhead.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hello - thanks for dropping by to leave a comment. Your comments are much appreciated even if I don't always reply. They will appear as soon as they have been moderated.

Blog Archive