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'Florentine' bowl: C.15-1998

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


'Florentine' bowl


Potter: Burgess & Leigh Ltd.
Designer: Rhead, Charlotte




Earthenware bowl, painted in mottled brown, tube-lined and lustre-glazed in brown and greens.

Circular bowl with double curved sides, standing on a footring. Glazed and coated all over in a mottled pale-brown. The interior is decorated with 'Florentine' pattern, a curvelinear, geometric, tube-lined design, some parts of which are lustred in solid areas of muted red-brown or shades of green, allowing the mottled ground to show through. The design comprises: a central green disk surrounded by a red-brown 'ladder frame'; a zone of curved three-sided motifs, alternately pale-brown, red-brown and green; two red-brown concentric bands, with a green band between; and a row of green leaves pointing downwards from the rim. The exterior has a light coating of green over the mottled pale-brown. The underside is recessed and glazed.


History note: Cheffins, Grain & Comins, Cambridge, 13th May 1998, Ceramics, Silver & Jewellery, lot 72

Legal notes

Given by the Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 25.3 cm
Height: 8.3 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Burslem ⪼ Staffordshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bought (1998-06-08) by Cheffins, Grain & Comins


20th Century, second quarter#
George V
Production date: circa AD 1932 : factory mark in use 1930s (Cameron)


Charlotte Rhead (1885-1947), also known as ‘Lottie’, came from a family of potters who over several generations built a reputation for tube-lined and pâte-sur-pâte decoration. Charlotte trained at Fenton School of Art and from 1901 worked at a succession of potteries as a decorator. From 1912-1926 she worked for her father, Frederick, who was art director at Wood & Sons, and at their subsidiaries Bursley Ltd and the Ellgreave Pottery Co; some of this work appeared under her own back-stamp as ‘Lottie Rhead ware’. By 1926, she had joined Burgess & Leigh, and from 1932-c.1942 designed art-ware and other products for A.G.Richardson & Co. In 1942 she returned to a Wood & Sons subsidiary, H.J.Wood, remaining there until her death. Although best known for her popular tube-lined designs, Charlotte Read also introduced new shapes and innovative glazes, including ‘broken’ (mottled) glazes and a thick matt white ‘snow glaze’ which attracted interest in the trade press.

Established as Hulme and Booth in 1851, Burgess & Leigh produced blue and white domestic and ornamental wares for the home and export market. A design Studio was introduced on moving to the Middleton Pottery, in 1889, and in the 1920s/30s the company became known for hand-painted art deco ware. In 1926, Burgess & Leigh announced in Pottery Gazette the recruitment of ‘the accomplished lady artist Charlotte Rhead who has produced for us a number of original decorations, all pure Handcraft , combining grace and dignity’. ‘Florentine’ was one of her last designs for the business, which by then employed 500 people.

‘Florentine’, pattern number 4752, was advertised as a new pattern, ‘Burleigh Florentine ware’ available in an extensive range of vases and bowls’, in 1932. The design would have been produced on tracing paper and ‘pounced’ onto the pot to guide the tube-liner.

School or Style

Art Deco

Components of the work

Decoration composed of coloured lustre

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Throwing : Thown earthenware, tube-lined and hand-painted in browns and greens
Glazing (coating)

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: 'BURLEIGH WARE ESTD 1851' above a beehive flanked by floral sprays, with other words below. 'B & L LTD' in banner.

  • Location: Underside of base
  • Method of creation: Transfer-printed in dark blue
  • Type: Mark

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.15-1998
Primary reference Number: 28624
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Wednesday 13 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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