Thursday, 6 February 2014
The DELLA ROBBIA POTTERY by Peter Hyland
Peter Hyland called in today with a copy of his new book ‘THE DELLA ROBBIA POTTERY’
My image was not as high resolution as he needed for publication, which is a shame, but there you go. I love it.
The book is enriched with illustrations and on first glance it looks extremely comprehensive.
Della Robbia had a brief lifespan from 1894-1906. It was founded by Harold Rathbone.
Walter Crane attended a VIP ceremony at the Walker Art Gallery on 10th February 1894 when the prominent speaker Sir William Forwood spoke of the need to keep tradition with pottery and the applied arts on Merseyside. And he said he is pleased to think that Mr Rathbone and some members of his family had already made a departure in that direction.
You have to ask in retrospect why a pottery was formed, to produce wares of an antique Italian tradition than of a thrusting enterprise in a modern age.
Her designs for the cover page of The Sphinx certainly bear that out.
This would be swept away with the industrial scale killing in the Great War that would employ methods of mass production that would later be employed in the domestic manufacture of almost everything.
Though it closed in 1906 we see through the beginnings of Della Robbia a microcosm of society and its ideals.
Della Robbia prices have been on the increase for a while now, but beware, as a potter, I see it as some of the worst pottery that should not have been let out of the workshops…and some of the best.
The pottery is an oxymoron of itself.
My personal opinion is that its rustic antique style is hiding, on a far too often occasion, bad workmanship.
Yet ‘Boy and Lanthorn’ a panel by Conrad Dressler which was exhibited at the Walker Art Gallery in 1895 is of the highest quality in design and workmanship.
Frank Watkin was the thrower. And Dressler was the chief designer and modeller until 1896. Carlo Manzoni took over the role in 1898.
It was quite a going concern.
There is a huge collection in the Williamson Art Gallery.
They designed a fountain for the Savoy Hotel and a monumental fountain in Newsham Park with Hippocampus holding a monumental bowl aloft.
There are amazing pots and plaques and tile panels.
The main decorators were….well you will have to buy this well put together book that Peter has exhaustively compiled for your delectation.