Published 4th December 2013
It is always satisfying when one can add to the sum total of knowledge about a particular subject it makes the job all the more rewarding. So it is pleasing that the Rhead Cronin Collection has provided some physical confirmation that Adolphine (Dollie) Rhead covered for her sister Charlotte Rhead at Burgess & Leigh when she went on holiday in 1928 to visit her brothers, Frederick Hurten Rhead and Louis Rhead, in America.
Dollie Rhead's signature on a Burleigh Ware sandwich set (EX81)
It was always known that Dollie Rhead stood in for her sister, but if I’m correct, the image below is the first time a signed and dated piece from this period has been seen. What makes this discovery even more exciting is that the pattern has not been previously recorded and rather raises the question that Dollie ‘may’ actually have designed pieces rather than being solely a hired hand. Furthermore, the tubelining is proficiently undertaken which, when you bear in mind that she had left the potteries to pursue a career in nursing some eighteen years earlier, is no mean feat. For those of you that are interested a more in depth discussion of the piece then go to the blog at www.rheadpottery.com
A Burleigh Ware sandwich set in a previously unrecorded pattern (EX81)
The collection also contains a number of other previously unseen painted patterns which includes a rather curious bowl and matching plate with an Isnik inspired design of tulips and stylised leaves in black on a turquoise ground. Although marked enigmatically ‘E Fired’ to the underside of the plate it is almost certainly the work of Frederick Alfred Rhead for Bursley Ltd, as he is attributed with other patterns in the same idiom namely Bagdad, Benares and Arabian. One can only guess that these pieces never got past the prototype stage.
Is this a rejected Frederick Alfred Rhead pottery prototype for Bursley Ltd? (EX81)
There is, however, no doubt that the following plate is by Frederick Alfred Rhead, as it bears his initials to the underside, and looks to be a direct copy of an Isnik pottery plate painted with typical saz leaf, stylised blooms and pomegranate within a wave scroll border. Whilst I don’t believe this was intended as a prototype several elements of it (the saz leaves, the leafy fronds at the base, the pink florets and the border scheme) appear in the Burgess & Leigh Persian pattern 4013.
A direct copy of an Isnik dish painted by Frederick Alfred Rhead used as
inspiration for other pieces. (FS21)