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Wheel Boy, Bench Boy, Thrower: C.4-1969

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 27 (Glaisher)

Titles

Wheel Boy, Bench Boy, Thrower

Maker(s)

Pottery: Martin Brothers
Modeller: Martin, Robert Wallace

Entities

Categories

Description

Salt-glazed stoneware plaque modelled in relief, with incised and coloured decoration.

Rectangular salt glazed stoneware plaque, standing vertical on a horizontal base. Decorated with incisions and relief modelling, with three figures added. The plaque is covered in beige slip and painted with cream, brown and blue/black slips. The back is roughly hollowed-out into 8x3 honeycomb boxes. There are deep incisions in the clay of the back and underside and two round holes in the top.

Three figures are shown working at the Martin Brothers' Southall Pottery. On the left, a boy turns the potters wheel, to the right of centre another (the 'bench boy') is wedging the clay and making clay balls ready for use by the thrower. On the right the potter is shaping the pot, as it rises from the wheel,The workers are shown against a background of vases on a rack of shelves and a window. The words 'Thrower', 'Bench Boy' and 'Wheel Boy' are inscribed in black on the front of the base, below each figure, and 'R.W Martin Sc. Southall Pottery. 1892' is inscribed below them, to the right.

Notes

History note: Collection of G.C. Monkhouse, Esq.; sold Sotheby's, 10th April, 1969, Nineteenth Century English Pottery and Porcelain, p. 39, lot 180.

Legal notes

Given by the Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum

Measurements and weight

Height: 17.5 cm
Height: 6.875 in
Width: 41.0 cm
Width: 16.1 in

Relative size of this object

41 cm6.9 cm What does this represent?

Relative size of this object is displayed using code inspired by Good Form and Spectacle's work on the British Museum's Waddeson Bequest website and their dimension drawer. They chose a tennis ball to represent a universally sized object, from which you could envisage the size of an object.

Place(s) associated

  • Southall ⪼ Middlesex ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1969) by The Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum

Dating

Late 19th Century
Victorian
Production date: dated AD 1882

Note

Several versions of this plaque were produced. The three figures were also produced separately, modelled in the round. It has been suggested that they represent three of the brothers, but a more likely identification seems to be Walter or Edwin Martin (thrower), Elvin Kellord (bench boy) and Tommy Cox (wheel boy).

The Martin Brothers were amongst the first ‘artist-potters’ of the late nineteenth century. Robert Wallace Martin (1843-24), Walter (1857-1912) and Edwin (1860-1915) designed, made and decorated their own ornamental salt-glazed stoneware, originally using facilities at C.J.C.Bailey’s Fulham Pottery and, briefly, at Shepherd’s Bush. In 1877, they opened their own pottery at Southall, Middlesex, and by 1882 were producing some 5,000 pieces a year. Wallace had originally trained as a sculptor, exhibiting his work at the Royal Academy and elsewhere from c.1863. His younger brothers had learned their skills at Doulton’s, Walter as a thrower and chemist, Edwin as a decorator. Modelled work is generally attributed to Wallace, but otherwise it is thought that the three learned from each other, exchanging skills and sharing roles. A fourth brother, Charles (1846-1910), sold the products – known as ‘Martin-ware’ – from a shop at Brownlow Street, London.

School or Style

Art Pottery

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Base Depth 5.6 cm Depth 2.25 in

Materials used in production

Salt-glaze
Stoneware

Techniques used in production

Slab-building : Rectangular salt glazed stoneware plaque, standing vertical on a horizontal base. Decorated with incisions and relief modelling, with three figures added. The plaque is covered in beige slip and painted with cream, brown and blue/black slips.
Modelling
Painting
Salt-glazing

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: inscription giving name and date of production

  • Text: R.W. Martin. Sc. Southall Pottery 1882
  • Location: Front of base
  • Method of creation: Painted in blue-black
  • Type: Mark

Inscription present: describes activities of figures above

  • Text: 'Wheel Boy' 'Bench Boy' 'Thrower'
  • Location: Front of base
  • Method of creation: Painted in blue-black
  • Type: Title

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.4-1969
Primary reference Number: 81734
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Sunday 21 March 2021

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2022) "Wheel Boy, Bench Boy, Thrower" Web page available at: https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/81734 Accessed: 2022-12-07 07:47:04

Citation for Wikipedia

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{{cite web|url=https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/81734 |title=Wheel Boy, Bench Boy, Thrower |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-12-07 07:47:04|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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