Connoisseur of Malvern Roses

Rose studies were a mainstay of the Connoisseur of Malvern porcelain studio during the 1980s. Most were designed by Diane Lewis – no surprise, in view of her expertise in flower making! I have included a bit of background about some of the actual rose cultivars that inspired the corresponding Connoisseur sculpture.

Although roses occasionally appeared as one of the elements in other Connoisseur sculptures, these are the pieces that were rose studies specifically. I have listed them here in alphabetical order.

Limited-Edition Rose Studies

The Avocet rose was an edition of 50 that was introduced in 1984. It is about 9″ high.

The Baby Talk rose commemorated the birth of Prince William of Wales in 1982. Only 50 of these were made. The actual floribunda rose of this name was registered in 1980, and so the sculpture name is accurate to the rose and to the event!

Bing Crosby rose, a limited edition of 200 introduced in 1981. I’m uncertain about the correct height, because one seller cited it as 4.5” and another as 6”. The actual Bing Crosby rose was registered in 1981. This rose study was released to considerable fanfare in the United States; the Asbury Park Press newspaper carried this news item on November 22, 1981, in regard to the event held at Brielle Galleries the night before:

Kathryn Crosby, wearing a red silk chiffon dress to match the color of the porcelain Bing Crosby rose, was guest of honor last night at a gala dinner dance held at the Beacon Manor. The formal event inaugurated a weekend celebration of the presentation of the Bing Crosby Rose in porcelain, and honored artisans of the fine porcelain studio of Connoisseur of Malvern which created the sculpture. Ira Jacobson, owner of Brielle Galleries, was host of last night’s Hollywood-style gala for 220 invited guests.

Champion rose, issued in 1986 and 5” high. This issue of 200 honors jockey Bob Champion, winner of the 1981 Grand National.  ‘Champion’ is an exceptionally large-flowered hybrid tea.

Chanelle, 7″ high, was an edition of 100 in 1982. ‘Chanelle’ is a very fragrant floribunda hybrid that was registered in 1959.

The Chicago Peace Centrepiece from 1990, designed by Aileen Burton, was a limited issue of 50. Its dimensions are unknown. The ‘Chicago Peace’ rose is a color variant of the classic ‘Peace’ rose that was introduced to the rose trade in 1962.

Clarissa rose, from 1983, 4.5″ high and a limited edition of 100. ‘Clarissa’ is a miniature rose, bred in 1982 by Harkness in the UK. Connoisseur created this lovely representation only a year later. The hybrid was named after Clarissa Mason, wife of actor James Mason. There is also a clematis hybrid (‘Mrs. James Mason’) named after her.

Drambuie, 10” high, was an issue of 100. One source lists its introduction year as 1987 but at least one example has 1985 in its backstamp.  ‘Drambuie’ is a Scottish hybrid tea rose (from Anderson Rose Nursery) dating from 1973 and has a very strong rose fragrance.

The Edna Hibel Rose paid tribute to that well-known artist, as an edition of 200 in 1989. There is not an actual rose hybrid of that name.

An early Brielle Galleries exclusive was Grundy’s Lane in an edition of 50 in 1981. It features the ‘Just Joey’ rose and is 11″ high and 7″ wide.

Ice Ginger, 1988, 14” high, an edition of 50. Some sources have shown the name as “Iced” Ginger but it is Ice Ginger on the backstamp.

This study is known from a single eBay offering of a decade ago that had only one photo. The brief description read only as: Artist Diane Lewis. “Jackie Kennedy”, Hope, Red and White Roses and so it’s unclear whether the name of the study is simply Jackie Kennedy or whether it includes the word/name Hope as well. I can find no online reference to a rose hybrid named after Mrs. Kennedy so this study’s name is unconfirmed. If anyone can shed some light on this Connoisseur piece, there is a direct contact form on the About the Chatsworth Lady page; many thanks! Dimensions are 14″ x 7″ x 6″.

The popularity of the lusciously colored Just Joey hybrid tea rose was anticipated by Connoisseur a decade before it was named ‘The World’s Favorite Rose’ in 1994. It is 4.25” high x 8″ wide.

The white Lady Diana rose was a 1981 marriage-commemorative issue. This was a limited issue of 100. It is 4.75″ high x 8″ wide.

Lady of the Sky, 5” high x 8” wide, was an issue of 100 during the mid-1980s.

Madame Butterfly is 4.5” high and was an edition of 50. The actual ‘Madame Butterfly’ is a vintage rose from 1918. It is listed as a shrub rose but there is also a rose named ‘Madame Butterfly Climbing’ which supposedly is a sport of ‘Ophelia’.

Mary Rose from 1984, in an edition of 100 which is 7″ high and wide. This rose is a David Austin hybrid which was named after the Mary Rose, the pride of King Henry VIII’s fleet; he named the ship after his sister Mary Tudor, who was for a short time Queen of France and later the wife of Henry’s best friend Charles Brandon.

Mountbatten, 1982, 6.25″ high and an edition of 100. This rose was originally named to honor Lord Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India, with whom its hybridizer Jack Harkness served in the military. Its full registered name is ‘Lord Mountbatten’.

My Love was a limited edition of 100 in 1982. It is 9″ high. Connoisseur also produced a single-rose open edition, shown in the next section.

Ophelia rose, 7” high. Only 100 of these were made, and its introduction year is unknown. This is an antique rose hybrid dating from 1912. There is also a climbing version bred by David Austin.

Peace Rose, from 1985 in an edition of 100. It is 6.75″ high and about 9.5″ at its widest point. The famous ‘Peace’ rose was first created in 1935 in France, but at that time was simply tagged as #3-35-40. In 1942 it was introduced to the trade in three different countries (France, Germany and Italy) under three different names (Mme. A. Meilland, Gloria Dei, and Gioia, respectively). A cutting of a French plant was smuggled out of that country just before the German occupation and was subsequently introduced in 1945 by the Conrad Pyle Company (USA) as ‘Peace’.

And here we have the Peace Rose Centrepiece, a limited issue of 50 in 1984 which is 6” high and 15″ wide.

Perfect Peace was an edition of 100 in 1989. Designed by Wendy Green, it is 7.5” high.

Precious Platinum rose, 1986, 5.25″ high, in a limited edition of 100. Despite its name, this is a rich deep red rose; it is known for blooming literally “top to bottom”. It was registered in 1974 by Patrick Dickson of Northern Ireland.

Possibly one of the very first Diane Lewis roses designed strictly for the American market was Pristine Morning, exclusively available at Brielle Galleries in New Jersey in 1980. An edition of 25, it is 12″ high and 7.5″ wide. At least one of these (#19) was accidentally produced with the issue size decal saying 15 instead of 25.

Queen Elizabeth, from 1983 in an edition of 100. It is approximately 5.5” high, and about 6″ wide and deep. This was the first of two different Queen Elizabeth roses issued by Connoisseur.

This is the Queen Elizabeth Rose II, an edition of 100 from the mid- to late 1980s (possibly 1988 or 1989). Dimensions are 5” high, 9” wide, and 6” deep.

The lovely Rose of York was an edition of 100 in 1989, measuring 8″ high x 12″ wide. This rose has confusingly been advertised as “York Rose” as well.  It also appears in two undated Connoisseur brochures from the same period, one with a photo caption of “York Rose” and the other captioned “Rose of York”!

The Sarah rose was created by Connoisseur to commemorate the marriage of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson on July 23, 1986. The backstamp on this piece reads Connoisseur Ltd, Ledbury… the only one I have seen thus far with such a backstamp. This was an edition of 250; it is a diminutive study, at only 3.25″ high.

TThis lovely one-of-a-kind Diane Lewis pink rose study is named Sheer Bliss; only one was made, in 1989.

The artists who created the piece were Diane Lewis (flower icon), Stephen Dalley (wagon wheel), and Peter Waltham (keyhole.) The identity of the artist who used the cat-face icon is currently not known; an Archive post will be devoted to the various artist icons in the near future.

The Silver Jubilee rose was an edition of 100 in 1985. Dimensions are 5.75″ high x 12″ wide. This actual very fragrant, repeat-flowering hybrid tea rose entered the trade the year following Queen Elizabeth II’s 1977 Silver Jubilee.

The Silver Wedding rose was designed by Wendy Green. It was an edition of 100 but unfortunately, I do not know the issue year. It is 9” long and 5” wide. The actual ‘Silver Wedding’ rose (also sold as ‘Silver Wedding Anniversary’) does develop slight pink tints on the petal edges, just as seen in the Connoisseur piece.

Sonia from 1985, an issue of 100 which is 5” h x 6” long.  Another French rose hybrid by Meilland, from 1974, this is a compact-growing grandiflora to about three or four feet tall.

Summer Princess, an edition of 100 by Aileen Burton, 6” high. The backstamp reads: ‘To commemorate the Marriage of The Prince Andrew & Miss Sarah Ferguson   23rd July 1986’ and also has the Prince’s cypher of a capital ‘A’ surmounted by a crown. I’m curious as to why it was not the combined royal monogram cypher that intertwines the A with the S!

Summer Star, 1987, an edition of 100. Height is unknown. Although there is a rose registered with the name ‘Summer Star’, that flower is a solid yellow cultivar; the name of this sculpture no doubt refers to the starry white jasmine flowers.

Another mid-1980s introduction was the Super Star rose which was an edition of 200.  It is 8″ high, wide, and deep. This particular example was painted by Freda Griffiths.

Yorkshire Rose, an issue of 100 introduced in 1980, measuring approximately 6” high x 11” wide.

Non-Limited (Open) Edition Roses

In 1983 Connoisseur offered non-limited edition single rosebud stems in a choice of four colorways, each colorway corresponding to an existing limited-edition study. These came in a specially designed gift box.

Their average overall length is between 7″ and 7.5″ inches. The Pascali bud is white, My Love bud is red, Silver Jubilee bud is pink, and Mountbatten bud is yellow. There can be slight variations in the backstamps of these rosebud stems; e.g., some may say “My Love Bud” and others may say simply “My Love.” Likewise, the petals of some may be held more closely together than on others. These were the most affordable Connoisseur pieces available at the time, at $150 each. As a comparison, the limited-edition Mountbatten rose sold for more than $600.

This is the Rose of York bud which may not have been part of the same series.

1986 saw the introduction of a series of miniature-rose studies designed by Aileen Burton; all were open (non-limited) editions.  Four studies have been discovered but there may have been more. Unfortunately, I have no information on the physical size of these pieces.

This is Dresden Doll. This is a repeat flowering miniature moss rose hybridized by Ralph Moore. Although the flower itself has no fragrance, the “mossing” on the buds is heavily scented of balsam.

The dramatic picotee Magic Carrousel was also a Ralph Moore introduction that has stood the test of time and is still popular more than 30 years later.

Coralin is another oldie-but-goodie miniature, having been hybridized in Spain by Pedro Dot in 1955. The cultivar name is sometimes misspelled as “Carolin.”

The fourth known miniature rose study is Yellow Doll but no photo is currently available. This is another Ralph Moore hybrid, from 1962, and is an extremely fragrant bush rose growing less than one foot high.

Browse my other Connoisseur of Malvern posts

Browse the entire Lost Porcelain Studios series

  1 comment for “Connoisseur of Malvern Roses

  1. April 12, 2021 at 4:02 pm

    Beautiful – I especially like ‘Dresden Doll’ and ‘Ice Ginger’.

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