Connoisseur of Malvern Artist Iconography

In the world of art porcelain, it was almost unheard-of for studios to give credit to the individual artists who actually created the sculptures; there was an almost universal policy of forced anonymity. Normally the only name that appeared on a studio’s output was that of the studio itself, typically that of its founder or the studio’s corporate name (e.g., Boehm Porcelain, Royal Worcester, Goebel, etc.) On rare occasions the name of a studio’s marquee designer might appear in the backstamp; but as for any of the other people responsible for a sculpture, those artists were invisible to the public.

Connoisseur of Malvern was a unique and welcome exception to this unwritten ‘industry rule’. Diane and Terry Lewis believed that the artists and craftspeople who produced these works of art should be acknowledged not only in a general sense but on each individual piece as well. This was accomplished with special symbols chosen by the artists themselves. Every person who had a hand (literally!) in creating an individual sculpture was indicated in the backstamp by their personal icon. Certain designers had a name stamp instead, and a few utilized both depending on what their contribution to that specific piece was.

The backstamp on the Connoisseur pieces produced by the original studio includes either three or four artist icons and often the designer’s name as well. There will be an icon belonging to the moldmaker, caster or caster/assembler, flowermaker (if any) and painter – typically in that order, from left to right. The graphic below identifies all of the icons that have been positively identified thus far, plus those whose craftsman-identity is not known to me. This is an ongoing project and I would be most grateful for help in identifying the unknowns; there is a direct-contact form at the bottom of the About the Chatsworth Lady page.

It’s my hope that with an eventually-complete artist iconography it will be possible to fully credit the artists who created every sculpture that the original studio produced. (Diane Lewis Chance sculptures and plaques do not include icons because these were created after the original studio was sold.)

Artist/Artisan Icons

These icons have been taken directly from actual backstamp images, and enlarged for clarity.

Additional artists whose icons are not known/shown above were:

Sue Redding, painter
Carol Redding
Jeff Sanders, moldmaker
Linda Sanders
Ingrid Pope, painter
Fred Brewer, moldmaker

A very few backstamps have five icons, as in this one on a Bugaku:

(Tony Orton moldmaker, Peter Waltham caster, Mark Farmer as assembler, Joyce Calvesbert, and an unknown painter)

and on an Edna Hibel Rose:

This is one example where the icons seem to be slightly out of sequence. The D (possibly for Darren Eacock) as moldmaker, followed by Mark Farmer as caster, is typical, but the third icon is Tracy Walmsley’s who is usually seen in the painter position. Then comes Mark Hodgkiss, kiln technician, whose icon one would expect to see following that of Mark Farmer.  Perhaps these two decal positions were accidentally transposed during application. The final (milk-bottle?) icon is that of an unknown painter.

Designers’ Signatures

Almost all of the in-house designers at Connoisseur were designated in backstamps via their actual name rather than with an icon. However, some wore “two hats”, so to speak, in that they not only designed certain pieces but helped to physically produce them. Diane Lewis was not only the studio’s director and its major floral designer but she was also a flowermaker; if she actually formed the flowers on an individual retail sculpture that she designed, her flower icon will appear on that backstamp as well as her name. Likewise, Aileen Burton was also a flowermaker and designer. Freda Griffiths was a painter but she also designed a series of botanical plaques and so her name appears in full on those backstamps.

To date, I have “dual markings” (full name as well as an icon) for only those three people: Diane Lewis, Aileen Burton, and Freda Griffiths. Wendy Collins went from having a W icon as flowermaker to her married name of W(endy) Green as a designer. This doesn’t mean that the none of the other designers had an icon as well – only that at this moment I do not know what it may have been. Again, further information would be most welcome.

The collage below shows the signature/name-stamp formats that I have thus far found in Connoisseur of Malvern backstamps.
(Top row: Diane Lewis, Richard Sefton, Robert Russell. Center row: Richard Roberts, Aileen Burton. Bottom row: Freda Griffiths, Wendy Green, Christopher Ashenden.)



Name index of Connoisseur of Malvern sculptures

Browse all Connoisseur of Malvern posts

 Browse the entire Lost Porcelain Studios series

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