Constance Dunn

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Post by Toby Samuel November 15th 2022, 9:44 am

Hi all ! Toby here… I’m new to the site and this is my first post (just figuring out how all this works so please bare with). I thought I’d share some rare works I found at a flea market last week by Constance Dunn. She was a pupil of William Staite Murray… I think you can see the influence in her brushwork and the subject matter.

There are very few examples or auction appearances of her work - mainly just a few humble pieces in the V&A archives. I don’t think Oxford Ceramics Gallery had any when they exhibited WSM and his pupils although I’m not 100%  I was digging through my archive for any literature on her but there is very little. I just have this snippet from the Ballentine Collection catalogue. Her dates are not even known. Can anyone share some more information about this illusive potter?

Constance Dunn  16394c10
Constance Dunn  Eaf57010
Constance Dunn  802c0b10
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Post by Toby Samuel November 15th 2022, 9:45 am

Follow up with her mark and small text. Have a nice day all 😀Constance Dunn  8c778110
Constance Dunn  7e74c210
Constance Dunn  4c722210
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Post by NaomiM November 15th 2022, 11:23 am

That’s great Most Excellent Welcome to the forum

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Post by studio-pots November 15th 2022, 5:48 pm

Her mark had the W because her maiden name was Wade.

I did have a vase of hers a few years ago and did have more information. I will try and see if I still have anything else.

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Post by Toby Samuel November 15th 2022, 6:08 pm

Ahh that's interesting and good to know ! It did always confuse me why it was a W and now it seems glaringly obvious. Thank you
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Post by studio-pots November 15th 2022, 6:36 pm

I don't seem to be able to find an image of the pot that I had (except a printed b/w image).

When she left the RCA in 1930 she moved up to Billingham on Tees-side and taught at Constantine College until 1932. I don't have the reference now but I think it was during this period that she met Mr. Dunn, who was a rich industrialist, and so, after marrying him she didn't have to earn a living. I am happy to be corrected on this point, if someone is able to find a reference.

In 1933 she set up her own pottery in Billingham, where she made "high fired" wares until the outbreak of the war. I think that the vase that I had came from this period. It had incised decoration and a grey glaze.

In 1946 she built a new oil fired kiln and it seems that she continued to use this until...... I don't know when. However, I suspect the vases you have are post-War.

Moving from London meant that she was far away from where ceramics would mostly have been exhibited during this period. I suspect, that she continued to make; exhibit and sell locally - out of sight of the small ceramic collecting circle of the period.

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Post by Toby Samuel November 16th 2022, 7:35 pm

What fabulous knowledge, thank you every so much for taking the time to reply.
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Post by chrisn July 12th 2023, 7:34 am

Hello I am Constance Dunn's grandson - what information would you like?
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Post by studio-pots July 13th 2023, 11:56 am

Welcome, Chris.

I have been involved in the studio ceramic world as collector/exhibitor/dealer for 35 years and, I suspect, that because she moved "up north" all the known information is quite vague.

Therefore I for one would be delighted if you added anything that you could.

John

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Post by NaomiM July 13th 2023, 1:12 pm

Love hearing anecdotes about potters, so anything you can tell us would be great.
The Marks book simply has her potting at Billingham in County Durham from 1933, and before that as potting at "various addresses" between 1924-33, so information is sparse. I'd be interested to know if she only used the one mark - W inside a triangle - throughout her career, and if she stayed in Billingham.

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Post by DunnPots September 16th 2023, 9:48 am

Hello,
Chris, my brother and grandson of Constance Dunn/Wade responded to this thread a while ago but is bogged down with stuff at the moment. I have been trying to get more detail together on grandmother for my own reasons and they are still sketchy in places, but below are the basics as we understand them.

Constance Edith Wade (1904-1976).
Training: Cambridge School of Art, 1921-24; Royal College of Art, ceramics, under Dora Billington then William Staite Murray, 1924-28 (end date not certain).
Married 1928, John Stanley Dunn (1898-1967), chemist.
Moved to Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees, c.1932, near the ICI plant where JSD worked.
Retired to Westerland, Devon, c.1960.
Moved to Chippenham, Wilts 1971 or 72.

Pottery mark an incised 'W' in a triangle for Wade, but maintained the same after marriage. Most but not all items are marked.
Some correspondence between Staite Murray and CED held by the family (not immediately available); may relate to being put forward as an Associate to the RCA. Staite Murray seems to have rated her work at the time.
Built an oil-fired kiln in the garden at Billingham. JSD assisted and experimented with glazes.
CED a potter but also known for pastels, watercolours and woodcut prints; mostly, but not exclusively, landscapes (many are Lake District and river scenes at Salcombe, Devon, also some NE England). Not everything was signed; some are dated, often as month and year (6/48, for eg)
JSD also an accomplished artist: pastels, watercolours and lithographic prints. Not everything was signed.
JSD also dabbled in woodwork.

A small number of ceramics by CED held in British museums including: V&A; Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne; and Frank Ollerenshaw Collection, Manchester City Art Gallery. Exhibited in the 1951 Festival of Britain in Sunderland.

I hope that information is of help; do ask if there is anything we might be able to help with.
Nick
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Post by philpot September 16th 2023, 10:06 am

That is fascinating information thanks!
These are her pieces in the V&A.
https://collections.vam.ac.uk/search/?q=constance+dunn&year_made_from=&year_made_to=

There are also pieces in the collections Aberdeen, Liverpool, and Paisley Museums.
There was an also a selling exhibition at the Oxford Ceramics Gallery in 2018. This had examples of her work.The link is to the catalogue of that exhibition.
https://issuu.com/oxfordceramics/docs/williamstaitemurraycatalogue


Last edited by philpot on September 16th 2023, 10:24 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by NaomiM September 16th 2023, 10:16 am

That’s wonderful information. Many thanks Most Excellent

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