A pair of seated figures, MH mark

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A pair of seated figures, MH mark  Empty A pair of seated figures, MH mark

Post by Richard_C January 2nd 2024, 10:30 am

I am new to this forum and although I am posting to ask a question now I hope soon to contribute some information to the Dartington Glass section. I lived nearby and have some very early examples which my parents owned. We are not collectors although we do sometimes buy studio pottery for use from the makers or small galleries – things like coffee cups.

We were on holiday in North Devon last week and saw 2 ceramic figures in the window of the “Appledore Antiques Shop”, liked them and bought them.  They reminded me a bit of Henry Moore’s seated figure in its various forms, maybe it’s the ratio of head to body size.  They were atypical for the shop, and the shop owner knew nothing about them, saying that they came as part of a mixed lot that he bought in Kent.  

They stand c. 32cm high, if you hold one lightly and tap it with a finger it rings a little, glazed but not a high gloss.  Clearly a pair, likely British, likely 1960s onwards. The modelling of the heads, the general quality and the clear transition from ‘rough to smooth’ particularly on the shoulders of the female figure suggests its work of an accomplished maker.  The bottom of the ‘legs’ are unglazed, off white, no markings.

I’ve spent a long time on the internet, and it gets increasingly interesting, looks a bit like John Maltby but probably not.

Maltby +:  General quality, sort of  colour he sometimes used, maybe Henry Moore influence, a typical subject. The M-dot mark perhaps, but see below.

Maltby -: the faces are blank, other things of his seem to have stylized facial features, the decoration is mostly incised, his later work looks a bit more modelled.

Only one piece carries a mark, the back of the ‘leg’ of the female figure.  M with a dot, with 2 small dots lower down, BUT it is incised not stamped, and there is a heavy line through the M.  I have found a Maltby incised mark with a line on BISPM but it is very different and accompanied by the Stonehill Pottery stamp.  I can’t make sense of the date, 4s and 9s perhaps. Or is it not a date? The BISPM website which I stumbled on yesterday suggests Matt Kelleher (USA) and Madrigal Pottery (UK) as other users of an M-dot mark but they both seem unlikely to me.  And it has that line through it - why?

So “Mockby” then?  Or ???

The photos are mostly self explanatory.  In 6 you can just see the location of the mark.  7 is the mark, 8 is a monochrome high contrast edit.  Colours do odd things with cameras and all our screens vary a bit. Image 9 is closest to the ‘true’ colour in daylight but the green-ishness come out more in artificial light.

Any clues or comments would be welcome.  This isn’t about value, we bought them because we like them and they now sit proudly on our dining room sideboard overseeing dinner.  

I have one more question.  They are a bit dusty.  I could leave them alone but am thinking of a gentle clean, immerse in warm water, soap, sponge, dry with cloth.  Is that sensible?


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Richard_C
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Location : Cambridge
Registration date : 2024-01-01

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Post by NaomiM January 2nd 2024, 11:45 am

Possibly an MH monogram, and numbered 791 or dated July 1991. Not Maltby. Might be Scandinavian.

They should be fine if you wash them in warm soapy water, but take care; that's when accidents happen Shock

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Carrot cake is just fake cake
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Post by Richard_C January 2nd 2024, 3:51 pm

Thanks, and thanks for opening my eyes to the MH possibility. That led me to invert the photograph, it could be a W with dot and line. Holding it in my hand it woukd have been difficult to inscribe the mark either way, M or MH still seems most likely but W is not impossible. 166 also works.

Now, do I stop thinking of them as Terry & Julie (Waterloo Sunset) and start thinking of Sven and Helga .... hmmmm.
Richard_C
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