Bird, lizard, tree trunk, leaf... Love this..no idea on maker.

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Post by petet63 on October 15th 2019, 8:29 pm

This is a very interesting piece. Seems to me at least very well made. Use? The brown 'stump' is a very rough texture and I thought maybe a striker...no idea why but it would really work. 21cm At the Widest and 14cm highest. Bird, lizard, tree trunk, leaf... Love this..no idea on maker. Img_0210
Bird, lizard, tree trunk, leaf... Love this..no idea on maker. Img_0211
Bird, lizard, tree trunk, leaf... Love this..no idea on maker. Img_0210
Bird, lizard, tree trunk, leaf... Love this..no idea on maker. Img_0212
Bird, lizard, tree trunk, leaf... Love this..no idea on maker. Img_0213
Bird, lizard, tree trunk, leaf... Love this..no idea on maker. Img_0214
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Post by tigerchips on October 24th 2019, 11:22 pm

There's something quite distinctive about that mark, like i should know it from somewhere. Minton maybe? Anyway, it reminds me of a Bernard Palissy design. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Palissy

It could also be English Majolica although the colours are odd.
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Post by petet63 on October 25th 2019, 3:29 pm

It seems very new or maybe very well looked after? It is for cigarettes. The leaves are like ashtrays and it is a stump for striking. The lozenge does seem like I should know it or have seen it. Someone did mention a local potter made it North East/North Yorkshire. No idea how they came by this decision. The search goes on. Thanks
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Post by paveybe on October 25th 2019, 4:21 pm

Pete63, I am not an expert and have no right to a pottery opinion, but wanted to share some thoughts... whenever I am stumped as to pinpointing the date/appearance of a design object, I think of the 1920s.  This is because it is post-Victorian, post arts and crafts, post Edwardian pomp, but not yet approaching the new forms and colours associated with Art Deco.  The 1920s would be close enough to the Minton revisiting of the Palissy style for there to be makers still around who had those skills and style interests - it is beautifully modelled.  The oatmeal colouring is very 1920s, and may even be a reflection of reduced supplies following WW1. There was an enthusiastic cigarette culture of that time - remember the Woodbine slogan, 'smoke as many as you want?'   I can't see something like this being made in the 1950s or 70s, even though smoking was still taking place everywhere.  I wonder if that striking surface is a replacement for an earlier one - it looks very new, and looks, in fact,  like a piece of iron oxide paper glued on. Could it be that? I could construct a narrative about it being a treasured piece belonging an elderly person, given in the 1920s, perhaps as a wedding present for someone who was young then, cared for and recently coming onto the market for reasons of...well, you know... and smartened up a bit by someone. That is how I would read it, although it helps you not at all with the name of the maker! Good luck with the hunt.


Last edited by paveybe on October 25th 2019, 4:22 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)
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Post by tigerchips on October 27th 2019, 3:31 am

I had another look at your photo's, i'm confused now since the glaze looks shiny on the top 4 pictures but semi-matte on the bottom two pictures. Looks almost like Parian porcelain. A closer look at the bowl has me intrigued, it looks like agate ware although very mild.

Edit, now that i've come to think of it, i've seen that leaf decoration with the highlighted black parts before, it was a dish made by Maling pottery and it had the old CTM triangle mark. Maling made a lot of Sunderland type wares as it was originally based there. Just some thoughts.
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Post by paveybe on October 27th 2019, 8:16 am

And another thing.. if it was for smoker's accoutrements - ashtray, cigarette container, striker - where did the matches reside, and what kind of matches would be used? And why is the striker on the left hand side, when most people are right handed? It would not be easy for a righthander to use and in design terms it would be as easily placed on the right as on the left...
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Post by petet63 on October 28th 2019, 5:33 pm

It is less shiny on the underside. I thought about the matches. I thought the matches might be in the pot on their own. It is confusing.
The striker is painted on not stuck. There seems no reason to me for the top of the stump to 'naturally' look like that. It is a bit of a puzzler. I'm enjoying all the comments though. It helps to get different views and hopefully eventually an answer. Thanks everyone
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Post by abstract toad on October 28th 2019, 5:57 pm

That is beautiful.
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Post by abstract toad on October 28th 2019, 6:02 pm

Just my two penneth worth, but is that likely to be an ashtray? With the bird & the little reptile chappy looking in, an ashtray doesn't seem appropriate, to me at least. Maybe some sort of bon bon / sweet centrepiece? I do not know, just throwing out thoughts.
Either way, that is a fabulous thing, glad to have seen it 😁
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Post by petet63 on October 28th 2019, 6:14 pm

I wish I knew. I was looking at it as an ex smoker and maybe that's the problem. It is a really nice piece. The more you see the more you like it.
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Post by paveybe on October 28th 2019, 6:52 pm

Pete63 have you looked at George Jones majolica?  More colourful, but not a million miles away in style... perhaps a nut dish (the bird has a little something in its beak) with leaves on which to park the shells and... a grater for people to.. rub the internal skins off the nuts??  And on the left hand side as a courteous indication that it is there if they need it, but it is out of the way, not an imposition...! Really stretching for an explanation here!

[Edit] Googling on George Jones majolica nut dish


Last edited by paveybe on October 28th 2019, 6:54 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : adding more info)
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Post by abstract toad on October 28th 2019, 7:07 pm

Nut dish sounds plausible.
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Post by paveybe on October 28th 2019, 7:49 pm

Or, or, if it was for cigarettes, could the 'grater/striker'  be for stubbing out? smartened up with a bit of paint?  Stopping now.

( Later..) And, the grater/striker bit is on the left hand side because that is the way it has been photographed; in fact the piece is three-dimensional, so it does not matter what side it is on - if it sits in the middle of the table it is more reachable by some if not by others.  

So: an ornamental piece designed to  sit in the middle of a table carrying cigarettes and with ashtray function in the shape of vine leaves and a robust section for stubbing out. Made by someone familiar with the Victorian majolica techniques who was still working post WW1, without the palette of colours available to them. Does that describe anyone?

( Later...) and they would be amused to tap their cigarettes on the little bird's head to tighten up the tobacco. Really stopping now.


Last edited by paveybe on October 28th 2019, 8:42 pm; edited 4 times in total (Reason for editing : typo, and additional info, and more speculation)
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Post by petet63 on October 29th 2019, 11:11 am

No need to stop. Thinking out loud brings the best results. It's a bit like the Irish question.. We think we find the answer and they change the question 😂. The other mark doesn't make sense either. At first I thought it looked a lot like a copyright mark but it could be anything. (last pic)
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Post by NaomiM on October 29th 2019, 1:27 pm

Other mark? I’m just seeing the number 406 in the applied clay, and a decorator’s mark N.

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Post by abstract toad on October 29th 2019, 2:43 pm

Just to echo what Pete said, keep those thoughts coming. I love reading what people think, whether I agree or not, it is all very stimulating. 🙂
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