• Della Robbia
  • Della Robbia
  • Della Robbia
  • Della Robbia
  • Della Robbia
  • Della Robbia
  • Della Robbia

About the Artist/Exhibition

DELLA ROBBIA POTTERY based in Birkenhead only lasted for 12 years but has a long lasting legacy at the Williamson.

The Della Robbia Pottery was a child of the Arts & Crafts movement, inspired by William Morris and his circle. Harold Rathbone, the founder, was a painter and he moved in the circle of Pre-Raphaelite artists that surrounded Morris and followed his ideas. Rathbone also appreciated Italian art and, having seen colourful and decorative pottery adorning churches and other buildings in Italy, wanted to bring the same spirit to Britain. The Della Robbia family were the most famous potters working in this field from the 15th and 16th centuries and their name became linked to a style of work.

 

As Harold Rathbone was no potter, he collaborated with two sculptors, Conrad Dressler and Giovanni Carlo Manzoni, who were able to work in three dimensions. In addition one or two experienced potters came from Staffordshire but, apart from them, Rathbone took on a group of local young people to train them up in the art of pottery and design. He believed that everyone had within them a spark of creativity and he wanted an opportunity to nurture any latent talent.

The pottery that came out of number 2A Price Street, Birkenhead, (and later from Argyle Street too) was sold in exhibitions throughout the country, through Liberty’s Regent Street shop in London and William Morris’s own company. It was very varied, very colourful, especially known for using a characteristic turquoise, and for 13 years was a reasonable success. A great deal of pottery was produced, from tea sets and small vases to fountains and large architectural decorations.

The pottery closed in 1906 and was forgotten about for many years, as Victorian art was out of fashion. Large wall plaques are in Birkenhead Central Library and the important collection of Della Robbia Pottery housed at the Williamson Art Gallery & Museum, Birkenhead, began to be formed in the 1920’s and now numbers nearly 250 pieces.

Exhibition

Dates : ongoing
Categories : ,
Artist : Della Robbia