In 1975, four years after opening of the Boehm porcelain studio in Malvern, England, a unique project was undertaken whereby 100 one-of-a-kind hand painted porcelain plaques were created by Boehm artists. Although a few of the artists were from Boehm’s Trenton, NJ studio, all of the plaques were created at Boehm of Malvern. After being on display for a short time the plaques were offered for sale to the public; several of them have since appeared for sale in recent years. All of the paintings are illustrated in black and white in the hardcover book The Porcelain Art of Edward Marshall Boehm by Reese Palley, first published in 1976. The book was subsequently reprinted in 1988 but I do not know if that later edition includes the section showing these plaques; I have read some reviews saying that it has fewer pages than the original edition.
All of the 1975 plaques are similar in size, being approximately 11″ x 16″ (28 cm x 40.6 cm) in viewable area, and about 18″ x 24″ (45.75 cm x 61 cm) when framed. A typical backstamp is shown above. Unlike normal retail editions of Boehm porcelain items, it shows the artist’s name. Instead of designating it as either an “artist proof” or “number 1 of an edition of 1”, the one of a kind status is indicated only by the phrase “original painting.”
Some artists only created a single painting for this unique event/project, while others were represented by multiple examples. The 28 very talented artists are listed alphabetically below, along with one of the 1975 paintings they produced; if more than one, the titles of the other painting(s) are also noted. I’ve also added anything that I was able to discover about the artist, but would be very happy to add additional information; there is a contact form on the About the Chatsworth Lady page. I hope you enjoy this retrospective of a most unique venture in porcelain painting! [All black and white photos are from the Palley book; I will replace them with color photos if the opportunity ever arises.]
Kingfisher by Christine Bennett.
Fair Wind and Sails by Kevan Bettison (also February Fox and Running Home)
Eardisland by Christopher Burns. (also Imaginary Landscape) There is a photo of Christopher painting the very first Boehm of Malvern retail sculpture, Nuthatch with Fly Agaric, in my first Boehm of Malvern post.
In a Summer Garden by Rita Daniel (also April Morning, Paradise Garden, Floral Garland, Flower Piece, and Reflections of Beauty)
At Boehm’s Duncravin Farm by Anthony Fritchey.
Kestrels by David Fuller (also Song Thrushes). David later worked at the Connoisseur of Malvern studio for a short time in the early 1980s.
Blue Bird of Paradise by Val Roy Gerischer (also Girl with Watering Can, The Loge, Lesser Bird of Paradise, Autumn, and Spring)
Old England by Freda Griffiths (also Tranquility). Freda, along with her daughter Sandy, became a mainstay of the Connoisseur of Malvern studio which was launched in 1979 by ex-Boehm of Malvern artists Diane and Terry Lewis. A number of examples of her work can be seen on my Connoisseur of Malvern website. Any Connoisseur backstamps that include a trowel as one of the artist icons indicate that the sculpture was painted by Freda.
Seeds of Time by Sandy Griffiths
Le Bombardement by Malcolm Johnson (also The Custom House Quay and Le Moisson The Harvest)
Instant Innocence by Simon Joyner (also Icy Affection). Simon teamed up with Brian Ormerod to launch the Bronn Fine China studio which later became Bronn of America. I have profiled them in detail in this post.
This one of a kind painting by Simon, under the Bronn Fine China imprimatur and titled “Innocence”, is almost (but not quite!) the same as the Boehm version shown above. The question of course is: Which painting was done first??
The Odd Couple by Derek Jones (also Pair of Otters)
May Morning by Leighton Maybury (also Hunters Returning, Hunting Buffalo, Mississippi Paddle Steamer, Morning Mist on Lake Superior, Washington’s Family, Dappled Mare and Foal, Mare and Foal, Mare at Water’s Edge, Evening, Multnoman Falls, Nevada Morning, Daring Escapade, Sunset, The Frigate Alfred, and The Frigate Constitution) Maybury was, like most at Boehm of Malvern, an ex-Royal Worcester artist from the 1950s. He died in the spring of 2013 at the age of 83. This painting is extremely similar to Fritchey’s At Boehm’s Duncravin Farm shown above!
Ewer and Fruit is noted in Palley’s book as being by “R. Lewis”. This may well refer to Rick Lewis, who later left Boehm of Malvern along with Diane and Terry Lewis (no relations) in 1979 to launch the Connoisseur of Malvern studio.
The Forgotten Abbey by Susan Morgan (also On the Banks of the Avon, Blue Bow, Harmony, Mellow Season, On the Liffey, Summer Chapter, Arizona Heights, and Lakeside)
Haymaking Marathon by Jean Oram. Jean’s husband Colin was also at Boehm, and she remained there at least into the early 1980s.
Barn Owl with Young by Ray Poole
Awakening (top two) and Tranquility, both by Margaret Powell. I am showing two of hers because they are among the very few for which I was able to find a color photo. (also Daisy, Patience, The Infant, The King, and Meditation)
This is Tranquillity in its original frame.
Valley Forge by Joan Ross (also Day of Freedom, Monticello, Old Philadelphia, Evening in Venice, Maytime Hereforshire, Old Venice, The Canal Bridge, The Haven, Venetian Scene, Winter’s Gold, The Pewter Bowl, Autumn Pastoral, Deserted Castle, and Amerigo Vespucci) Joan Ross was especially fond of American history, landscape, and city views as subjects.
Morning Departure by Bill Scott
Green Woodpecker with Crab Apple by John Smith (also Magpie)
Lacock Abbey by John Stevens. Lacock Abbey, in Wiltshire, was founded in 1229 by the Countess of Salisbury. It is now the property of the National Trust. A bit of trivia about Lacock is that some scenes in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets were filmed there and, more recently, parts of the BBC television series Wolf Hall. Many parts of the 2008 movie The Other Boleyn Girl were filmed at Lacock.
Blue Comport by Alan Telford (also Henry Knox, Fulmar, Still Life with Decanter, The Ledger, Highland Burn, and After the Storm)
Victorian Fantasy by W. Randall VanHise (also Regal Primroses). Mr. VanHise appears to have been one of the Trenton studio’s artists. It’s not known whether the Trenton artists’ plaques were painted in NJ and then were sent to the Malvern studio for the final firings (which seems illogical) or whether the artist traveled to England and did the painting there. Palley’s book does not delve into this.
Red Squirrels in Winter Coat by Mary Weaver
Benjamin Franklin by D.R. Whitmore
Elephantine by Tony Wiggett (also Corridors of Coral)
Spectacled Owls by Peter Yardley (also Gray Squirrels)
Upcoming posts will examine the Boehm of Malvern hand painted plaques and plates that were produced for normal retail sales, as well as their porcelain sculptures from 1979 onward.