Thursday, 3 January 2013

MARGARET HOWARD, MYSTERY POTTER


I'm not by nature an obsessive collector, but certain things really appeal to me and I love to own just one or two examples. The pottery figure above is such an object; beautifully detailed and full of character, it is by Charles Vyse. Trained at the Doulton factory, he later set up his own pottery in Chelsea and, during the 1920s with his wife Nell, made small limited editions of figures like the Tulip Woman above. Gypsy types wearing enviably Bohemian clothes. His use of pattern and subtle colours are very pleasing to me.
Similar details on this modern pottery group delighted me when I opened my Christmas gift from Mr N.


This sweet little hand-modelled piece is called "The Hats" and depicts a small girl sharing the fun of trying on hats. I love the patterns, the colours and the fact that the group, only six inches high, can be viewed from every angle, each revealing a new detail.








I have to repair this little bit sometime.


Here is the mystery - the potter is Margaret Howard, she has signed the base. But who is she - studio potter, talented amateur? Where did she work? Are there any more of these pretty figure groups out there in the world?

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27 comments:

  1. how sweet is that, and an absolutely PERFECT present isn't it?
    A painting in 3D

    Happiest of happy new years Nilly, wishing you all you wish for yourself and hoping you won't be irritable at all!
    xx

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    1. Happy New Year to you too - we greatly envy your Dorset Country Life.

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  2. `Margaret Howell worked from St Ive, near Liskeard in Cornwall. Think she is still alive. Produced some lovely couples in bed and you could remove the duvet!

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    1. Thank you so much for this information. I hope I find one of those little beds sometime.

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  3. What a lovely present. Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy new year. M x

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    1. Have a lovely New Year & lots of fun with your Little Man!

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  4. Margaret Howard, heard the name, but for the life of me can't think where?

    Happy, healthy and prosperous new year dear heart.

    LLX

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    1. We'll do our best and hope you do too!

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  5. Happy New Year Nilly, you are a lucky girl to get such a lovely pressie. A friend of mine got a food processor from a hubby who usually got it totally right!! x

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    1. Happy New Year Jayne.
      Carry On Crafting!

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  6. This isn't usually my thing but I find myself absolutely enchanted with 'The Hats' - thank you for sharing. It is indeed the perfect gift! Axxx

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    1. It just misses being "cute", thank goodness!

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  7. Nilly, just looked at the no title blog on your Popular Posts section AND the Margaret Howard piece is a dead-ringer for the picture of you trying on a hat. What's a few decades discrepancy between friends... I ask you?

    LLX

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    1. A few decades? How very dare you!

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  8. The perfect present for a hat-wearing gal, methinks. Well done that hubby!

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  9. What an enchanting piece, Nilly. So much to look at and take in here and of course little kitty, just adds to the sweetness.Thanks for sharing with us all.
    I smiled at you being a witch also, my friend!
    Love Maria x

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    1. Hope you have some super times in this New Year, Maria.

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  10. I don't know who Margaret Howard is, but thank you for featuring a piece by Charles and Nell Vyse, who have been treated sniffily by the "round and brown" studio potters.

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    1. That's very interesting Marshall. Our taste is shaped by our interest in antiques and history - Charles Vyse actually went on to make some lovely "round, brown ones" too. We have another two pieces by the Vyses and an interesting figure by Gwendolen Parnell marked Chelsea Cheyne, sadly damaged but still beautiful.

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  11. Hi,
    I thought you might like to know that Margaret Howard is indeed alive and living with me, her daughter, in Wiltshire. She modelled her "groups" for 40 years and sold them in Fortnum and Masons as well as exporting many to America to collectors of her work. Mostly she modelled private commissions for collectors or enthusiasts. She made approximately 400 one off pieces and also designed many small pieces for our studio pottery (these included the "undercover stories" featuring the newly wed couple in bed! and cruet sets, egg cups and figurines) My sister still produces these in her very small pottery.
    Hang on to your "hat lady", Margaret was (and still is) highly regarded for her creations and they were predicted to become sought after antiques of the future!
    With Best Wishes,
    Tabitha Howard

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  12. Thank you so much for this! I have seen a few examples of the "undercover stories" series but no other groups like mine. I will remember what you have told me and, of course, treasure my delightful group. It "lives" on a shelf in my bedroom surrounded by my Charles Vyse ladies.

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  13. Hi, I work for an auction house and have just unwrapped one of her figures, it is a policeman with a housemaid watched by children under an apple tree, it is entitled 'The arm of the Law' and has quite a lot of damage sadly but is still charming. Can I ask if you have any contact details for the family? The base is identically decorated with the border, but is raised on three feet, it also has a number and it'd be great if the lady herself has any records relating to this!

    Kind regards,

    Dave

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    1. Hello Dave,
      The nearest clue I have is the comment on my blog - see 5th April "Anonymous", which is from her daughter Tabitha Howard. She lives in Wiltshire with Margaret, so I can only suggest a search on BT Directory Enquiries or 192.com perhaps.
      The groups are, I agree, very charming.

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  14. Hi Dave,
    My sister, Polly, just brought this post to my attention: I'm not sure what records we have for "The Arm of the law", but I certainly remember the group. I will ask Margaret tomorrow and leave you my email address also.
    A great shame that the group is damaged - they are so delicate that they don't travel well unfortunately.
    Best wishes,
    Tabitha

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  15. Sorry, forgot the email address: don.tabitha@ntlworld.com
    Tabitha.

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    1. Hi Tabitha, apologies for the delay in responding, I don't get on the internet much! I'll email you soon,

      Kind regards,

      Dave

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