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Frederick Alfred Rhead (1856-1933)

Biography of the potter and painter Frederick Alfred Rhead (1856-1933)

Frederick Alfred Rhead (1856-1933) was born in 1856 as the second son of George Woolliscroft and Fanny Rhead, a family that already boasted potting and artistic credentials, a family which produced eleven offspring, four of which in turn went onto work within the ceramics industry and artistic spheres.

At the age of thirteen, Rhead studied under his father who taught at the Newcastle-under-Lyme School of Art, becoming a proficient painter, and a year later he was apprenticed to Minton for seven years working under Louis Solon, the master of the pate sur pate technique.

In 1878, Rhead was employed by Wedgwood and also received favourable compliment on his work shown at the Paris Exhibition. He married the following year to Adolphine Hurten, the daughter of a naturalistic flower painter Charles Ferdinand Hurten (who like Solon had worked at Sevres).

In 1887, he spent a brief period with James Gildea, and a year later, whilst at EJD Bodley, he was responsible for putting his pate sur pate skills to good use when executing the Gladstone Vase. Shortly after this, Rhead was at Brownfield's until 1897 before joining Wileman & Co as their art director until 1905.

Thereafter, Rhead 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, unable to settle despite having resident brothers, Rhead returned in less than a year working briefly for Birks, Rawlins (Vine Pottery) before taking up a post with Wood & Sons where he remained from 1912-27. Here, Rhead was responsible for signature lines such as Elers and Trellis ranges and some affordably opulent pate sur pate lines – a far cry from the exhibition pieces he created for Minton and Wedgwood, but none the less still striking, timely and well designed.

Rhead died in 1933, after working for a little over sixty years continuously, during which his contribution to the art pottery industry both as an individual and as father to Frederick Hurten Rhead, Harry Rhead, Charlotte Read and Adolphine Rhead was without equal.

Related Departments

Frederick Alfred Rhead (1856-1933) Related Lots

Lot FS21/553

Lot FS21/553: Frederick Alfred Rhead, A Fine Pate-sur-pate Porcelain Rectangular Plaque

Frederick Alfred Rhead, a fine pate-sur-pate porcelain rectangular plaque decorated with a scene from John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, a paper exhibition label verso inscribed ' 901 the Flatterer and the net, Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, Frederick Alfred Rhead' together with '6101 Waterman Ave. St Louis MO', signed 'F. Rhead 1900-1901', 22 x 34cm, in gilt wood frame. The composition is taken from an illustration titled 'The Flatterer, the Shining One with the Whip, and the Net' by George Wooliscroft Rhead for a limited edition publication of John Bunyan's 'The Pilgrim's Progress' illustrated by the three brothers George Wooliscroft, Frederick and Louis Rhead, publisher C Arthur Peason Ltd., London.

Estimate: £2,000 - £4,000
Realised: £15,000

Lot FS21/542

Lot FS21/542: A Fine Frederick Alfred Rhead, Probably For Minton, Pate-sur-pate Porcelain Vase

A fine Frederick Alfred Rhead, probably for Minton, pate-sur-pate porcelain vase of cylindrical form decorated with an angel holding aloft a large bowl with text below 'And when the angel with his darker draught draws up to thee-take that and do not shrink' taken from verse 48 of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, signed FA Rhead, 30.5 cm.

Estimate: £1,500 - £2,000
Realised: £17,000

Lot FS21/262

Lot FS21/262: Frederick Alfred Rhead [1856-1933] - The Creation of Flowers and Plants

Frederick Alfred Rhead [1856-1933] - The Creation of Flowers and Plants - signed FA Rhead bottom right watercolour and bodycolour 53 x 35cm.

Estimate: £1,200 - £1,800
Realised: £5,500

Lot FS21/274

Lot FS21/274: Frederick Alfred Rhead [1856-1933] - 'When the Angel with His Darker Draught Draws Up To Thee', Verse 48 Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Frederick Alfred Rhead [1856-1933] - 'When the Angel with his Darker Draught Draws up to Thee', verse 48 Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam oil on board 52 x 34cm See Lot 542in the Ceramics Section of this sale.

Estimate: £800 - £1,200
Realised: £3,400

Lot FS21/549

Lot FS21/549: A Frederick Alfred Rhead Pate-sur-pate Porcelain Plate

A Frederick Alfred Rhead pate-sur-pate porcelain plate decorated in white with the figures Penelope and Kaas from Greek mythology on a midnight blue ground within a tube-lined key and geometric pattern rim, signed FA Rhead and inscribed verso 'Penelope. FA Rhead Fecit', 24.5cm diameter, tiny glazed chip to foot rim.

Estimate: £400 - £600
Realised: £520

Lot FS21/559

Lot FS21/559: Frederick Alfred Rhead, A Pottery Rectangular Plaque

Frederick Alfred Rhead, a pottery rectangular plaque decorated with figures wearing early 18th century costume in the garden of a country house, comprising three men drinking and playing cards at a table in the background, a woman, possibly a young bride, seated on her own in the foreground, signed F Rhead, 21 x 31cm, in gilt frame.

Estimate: £200 - £400
Realised: £350

Lot FS21/550

Lot FS21/550: Attributed To Frederick Alfred Rhead, A Pate-sur-pate Porcelain Oval Plaque

Attributed to Frederick Alfred Rhead, a pate-sur-pate porcelain oval plaque of an angel scantily clad with a diaphanous robe, swallows flying below, 15.5 x 11.5cm in gilt frame.

Estimate: £300 - £400
Realised: £650

Lot FS21/271

Lot FS21/271: Frederick Alfred Rhead [1856-1933] - River Landscape with Stone Bridge and Village in the Distance; A Stone House Ruin At Sunset; A Young Woman on A Pony Returning From Market; Gardeners by A Ruin

Frederick Alfred Rhead [1856-1933] - River landscape with stone bridge and village in the distance; A stone house ruin at sunset; A young woman on a pony returning from market; Gardeners by a ruin a group of four, each signed, one dated 1925, watercolours, largest 27 x 36cm.

Estimate: £250 - £350
Realised: £1,700

Lot FS21/288

Lot FS21/288: Frederick Alfred Rhead [1856-1933] - 'Pliable's Return Home', From Pilgrims' Progress; 'All That Cometh in Vanity From Vanity' Fair

Frederick Alfred Rhead [1856-1933] - 'Pliable's return Home', from Pilgrims' Progress; 'All that Cometh in vanity from Vanity' Fair two, both signed and inscribed pen and ink drawings each 46 x 34cm, unframed.

Estimate: £200 - £300
Realised: £350

Lot FS21/545A

Lot FS21/545a: Attributed To Frederick Alfred Rhead [1856-1933] - Design For the Gladstone Vase

Attributed to Frederick Alfred Rhead [1856-1933] - Design for the Gladstone Vase - watercolour 49 x 33cm *The monumental pate-sur-pate 'Gladstone Vase' was designed and executed by Frederick Rhead in 1887 for E J.D Bodley. The vase was commissioned by the Burslem Liberals and presented to the former Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone in August 1888 at his home Hawarden Castle, Flintshire. it now forms part of the collections at the Potteries Museum, Stoke on Trent.

Estimate: £200 - £300
Realised: £250

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