Published 26th November 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. (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 (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
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?