Waistel Cooper

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Waistel Cooper

Post by big ed on August 8th 2009, 10:48 am



Waistel Cooper Born in Ayr 1921-2003, Edinburgh art college painting 1938-9.
potted at porlock devon and Barbican pottery Penzance Cornwall.

Lamp base signed Waistel , a good buy at 8 from Swinderby Fair.
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Re: Waistel Cooper

Post by big ed on August 8th 2009, 10:49 am

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WAISTEL COOPER

Post by DIANE on April 25th 2011, 4:33 pm




Waistel Cooper, a Scot born in 1921, set up his pottery at Porlock in Somerset in 1952. He specialised in textured surfaces and was also known to use wood ash glazes occasionally. From 1983 he operated from Barbican Pottery in Penzance, Cornwall. He signed his work with his forename in black but I have seen a pot with just a W. He died in 2003.

This pot in my collection in a lamp base I believe.
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Waistel Cooper

Post by Davee on August 28th 2011, 11:59 am

Recently aquired this lamp base signed to the body 'Waistel' and to the base along with 'Porlock'. I cannot find any of his work remotely smilar to this. It appears to have quite a bit of age to it so I was thinking it may be from the 50's when he first started potting at his studio at Porlock. Does anyone own the Lesley Jackson book and if so is there anything like this in there. Any help very much appreciated.

p.s both signatures are under the glaze so couldn't have been added at a later date.


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Re: Waistel Cooper

Post by Potty on August 28th 2011, 12:02 pm

I saw this on "the bay" too Happy

Wondered the same thing, as the signature does look a lot like his, but I came to the conclusion I did not think it was.

Regardless it is a nice lamp.

Potty.

P.S. I know almost nothing about Waistel Cooper.

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Re: Waistel Cooper

Post by Potty on August 28th 2011, 12:27 pm

Forgot to add my reason for thinking it's not his work Cheeky

The lamp looks molded? I have never seen any of his work molded, apart from the obvious style differences.

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Re: Waistel Cooper

Post by Davee on August 28th 2011, 12:38 pm

Its not molded.

I obviously also have doubts, but there are a number of questions

1, Was there another potter called Waistel Potting in Porlock? seems highly unlikely.

2, if it was a fake why make something that doesn't represent his work?

Its a bit of mystery

This section from his Obituary mentions him decorating with brightly coloured slips in a Matisse style.

A dramatic change of direction came when he became friendly with the sculptor Gestur Thorgrimsson, who encouraged him to take up pottery. Together they collaborated on making platters thrown by Thorgrimsson which Cooper decorated with painted underglaze in brightly coloured clay slips. The designs included abstracted motives such as faces that, in their easy, fluid forms, recall the work of Matisse, and make full use of the qualities obtainable with the medium. But with no tradition of pottery making in Iceland, and frustrated by having to work in earthenware rather than the tougher stoneware, in 1950 Cooper returned to England, where he set up a small pottery in the village of Porlock in Somerset, firing his pots in a modest-sized electric kiln.

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Re: Waistel Cooper

Post by big ed on August 28th 2011, 7:02 pm

I have seen quite a few pieces of his work and glazes do vary , I haven't seen anything like this before , but FWIW, I could find no reason to doubt this , the signature is spot on Most Excellent
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Re: Waistel Cooper

Post by studio-pots on August 29th 2011, 11:13 am

Davee wrote:Its not molded.

I obviously also have doubts, but there are a number of questions

1, Was there another potter called Waistel Potting in Porlock? seems highly unlikely.

2, if it was a fake why make something that doesn't represent his work?

Its a bit of mystery

This section from his Obituary mentions him decorating with brightly coloured slips in a Matisse style.

A dramatic change of direction came when he became friendly with the sculptor Gestur Thorgrimsson, who encouraged him to take up pottery. Together they collaborated on making platters thrown by Thorgrimsson which Cooper decorated with painted underglaze in brightly coloured clay slips. The designs included abstracted motives such as faces that, in their easy, fluid forms, recall the work of Matisse, and make full use of the qualities obtainable with the medium. But with no tradition of pottery making in Iceland, and frustrated by having to work in earthenware rather than the tougher stoneware, in 1950 Cooper returned to England, where he set up a small pottery in the village of Porlock in Somerset, firing his pots in a modest-sized electric kiln.

A picture of the work being described above that was made in Iceland - I have never seen anything that he made in England that was like it. I did visit him and saw his archive of items kept from all periods.



Note that the signature bears little resemblance to that on your lamp base
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Re: Waistel Cooper

Post by studio-pots on August 29th 2011, 11:19 am

An image of his signature from a Porlock piece (excuse it being a little blurred but I took it in my loft).



Again you will see that it is nothing like the signature on your lamp base. I have only ever seen his work signed with "Waistel" or "W" on smaller pieces - never with Porlock or any other place of manufacture.
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Re: Waistel Cooper

Post by Davee on August 29th 2011, 2:56 pm

studio-pots wrote:An image of his signature from a Porlock piece (excuse it being a little blurred but I took it in my loft).



Again you will see that it is nothing like the signature on your lamp base. I have only ever seen his work signed with "Waistel" or "W" on smaller pieces - never with Porlock or any other place of manufacture.

But likewise your Porlock signature is nothing like the one on the Iceland piece.

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Re: Waistel Cooper

Post by Davee on August 29th 2011, 3:24 pm





Note that the signature bears little resemblance to that on your lamp base[/quote]



I know you are the expert and i'm the ignorant novice Happy but the picture of the iceland vase with thee similar 'splodgy' forms and the signature to the body has done more to convince me that it could be right than not Shrugs

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Re: Waistel Cooper

Post by studio-pots on August 29th 2011, 3:38 pm

Davee wrote:
studio-pots wrote:An image of his signature from a Porlock piece (excuse it being a little blurred but I took it in my loft).



Again you will see that it is nothing like the signature on your lamp base. I have only ever seen his work signed with "Waistel" or "W" on smaller pieces - never with Porlock or any other place of manufacture.

But likewise your Porlock signature is nothing like the one on the Iceland piece.

If I look at the two signatures that I have uploaded it is my opinion that there are important similarities if you remember that they are 7 or 8 years apart. It is also my opinion that your two signatures on the same piece differ from each other too much to both be the actual signature of the person who did them.

The most significant part of Waistel's signature throughout is career is the W. If you look at my two Ws they both have the downward flare on each end. Your two signatures do not - one has a flare at the beginning and the other has none.

Below is Waistel's W signature off a later smaller piece, which he signed is this way when there was not room for a full signature - this shows the two flares again.


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Re: Waistel Cooper

Post by Davee on August 29th 2011, 4:03 pm

So in your opinion what is it? a fake? judging by the crazing in the cream glaze it must have been made at least 30/40 years ago.

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Re: Waistel Cooper

Post by Davee on August 29th 2011, 4:17 pm

http://www.auctionatrium.com/index.php?page=view_item&itemID=8465

https://www.i-rostrum.com/MaakLondon/BiddingProcess/BiddingScreen/17

2 examples without the second flare Shrugs

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Re: Waistel Cooper

Post by studio-pots on August 29th 2011, 5:12 pm

Davee wrote:http://www.auctionatrium.com/index.php?page=view_item&itemID=8465

https://www.i-rostrum.com/MaakLondon/BiddingProcess/BiddingScreen/17

2 examples without the second flare Shrugs

I have to agree that the two signatures on these last pieces made in Penzance don't have the flare on the end of the W. They are both pieces put into the auctions by his second wife, who was much younger than him, and could even be slightly later than the dates given. Even if the dates are correct thay are made over 30 years after he left Porlock. The "blurred" full signature that I uploaded was from a jug bought by the previous owner from Waistel in Porlock in 1956. I have known the previous owner for many years and he tells me that it was one of the first pieces of studio pottery that he bought. I believe that both signatures on your lampbase should be more like my blurred signature than signatures on something he made at least 30 years afterwards. I also believe that the Ws on both your signatures should be virtually identical and they are not.

If your lamp base is by Waistel it was made between 1951 and late 1956 and at the time he was either experimenting with wood ash glazes or leaving the outside unglazed and incising patterns as the image below states: -

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Re: Waistel Cooper

Post by Potty on August 29th 2011, 5:25 pm

I also think that the 2 signatures on the lamp are quite different, the one on the side looks believable, but on the base not so, to me anyway.


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Re: Waistel Cooper

Post by big ed on August 29th 2011, 5:27 pm

The base mark could have been made by an assistant Shrugs
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Re: Waistel Cooper

Post by Potty on August 29th 2011, 5:38 pm

I wondered if it was possible it was made, then left unfired for a period then finished by someone else.

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Re: Waistel Cooper

Post by studio-pots on August 29th 2011, 6:10 pm

At Porlock he was working in the stables of his parent's house and there is no mention of any assistants or helpers there. It does state that his first wife helped with glaze mixing at his second pottery (at the home they bought together when they married in 1957).

The problem with Potty's point about it being finished later by someone else is that they is no record of Waistel using anything remotely like the decorating/glazing techiques the lamp base displays at Porlock or any time later.


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Re: Waistel Cooper

Post by Potty on August 29th 2011, 6:13 pm

I just mean it as a possible explanation for the signature differences, I know nothing about the potter apart from the basic's Laughter

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Re: Waistel Cooper

Post by studio-pots on August 29th 2011, 6:37 pm

Agreed it is a possible explanation but the two lamp base signatures do have similarities with each other, as thay both have uncrossed ts ( no line to the right of the upright). This is unlike all of the Waistel signatures, even the late auction ones show this.

I do think that the two lamp base signature are by the "same hand"

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Re: Waistel Cooper

Post by flying free on September 4th 2011, 10:46 pm

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Re: Waistel Cooper

Post by Davee on January 10th 2012, 3:23 pm

Just to carry on the discussion on Waistel Cooper signatures, what opinions do people have on this one

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/WAISTEL-pottery-ceramik-vase-/150730550896?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item23183dae70

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Re: Waistel Cooper

Post by studio-pots on January 10th 2012, 5:32 pm

An interesting find.

As you are aware Mr. Cooper of that name was in Iceland from 1946 to 1950 and the information that I have about that period is what he supplied for a catalogue of a retrospective exhibition of his in Manchester in 1994. I think that was used for the part of the obituary that you quoted on page 1 of this topic. In this he talks of the work being earthenware (as the Ebay vase is) but most was thrown by the Icelandic sculptor, Gestur Thorgrimsson and being "overtly painterly". These last 2 points don't describe the Ebay vase, unless the other incised mark is Thorgrimsson's. It also doesn't look anything like the picture of the Icelandic vase that I added on page 1 of this topic, which is the only image that I can find. The signature on the Ebay vase doesn't look like the painted signature of the Icelandic vase and I can't ever recall seeing an incised Waistel mark on any of his work from throughout his career.

On the plus side "Waistel" is not a common name and he did work in Iceland. Also, although none of his Icelandic work was in the retrospective exhibition in Manchester, there were 5 examples of work made in Porlock that the catalogue says "represent the type of wares made in Iceland" and one of these is described as being "a lampbase, design of stylised head". No picture though.

Who knows?

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