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Framed plaque - Cupids building a house of  cards
  • Cupids building a house of cards
    Birks, Lawrence Arthur
  • Enlarge image

Cupids building a house of cards

  • Object:

    Framed plaque

  • Place of origin:

    Stoke-on-Trent (made)

  • Date:

    1894 - ca. 1920 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Birks, Lawrence Arthur (maker)
    The Vine Pottery (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Porcelain and pâte-sur-pâte within a wooden frame

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Margaret Birks

  • Museum number:

    C.19-2013

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Pâte-sur-pâte literally means 'paste on paste' and involves the laborious method of imposing liquid porcelain onto a porcelain body freehand, in a process of building up numerous layers that are then chiselled and brushed back to form a sculpted multi-layered effect. The finished piece is then fired and the result is an exquisite translucent glass-like form on the vessel with very fine detail.
The pâte-sur-pâte technique was a decorative style fashionable during the late-19th and early-20th centuries. Figurative decoration in a delicately rendered neo-classical style was particularly popular, and was applied to a variety of useful shapes, such as vases, but also to decorative plaques. In France pâte-sur-pâte was developed by the Sèvres porcelain factory whilst, in England, Minton employed the technique to great success.
Lawrence Arthur Birks (1857 - 1935) worked 22 years for Minton, apprenticed to the great pâte-sur-pâte artist Louis Marc Emmanuel Solon. He left Minton in 1894 establishing L. A. Birks & Co.; 1900 Birks Rawlins & Co., The Vine Pottery, off London Road, Stoke-on-Trent. The pottery mainly produced fine bone china tablewares, but Birks continued to produce pâte-sur-pâte when production allowed. This work required a high level of skill and Birks's pieces were described by the Pottery Gazette in 1902 as examples of the most difficult class of fine art ceramics comparable to the wares produced by Solon.

Physical description

Blue and white pâte-sur-pâte plaque depicting Cupids building a house of cards, within a wooden frame.

Place of Origin

Stoke-on-Trent (made)

Date

1894 - ca. 1920 (made)

Artist/maker

Birks, Lawrence Arthur (maker)
The Vine Pottery (made)

Materials and Techniques

Porcelain and pâte-sur-pâte within a wooden frame

Marks and inscriptions

'L. A. BIRKS'
Incised in pâte-sur-pâte on the front of the plaque.

Dimensions

Height: 22.6 cm whole including frame, Width: 29.2 cm whole including frame, Depth: 3.6 cm whole including frame

Object history note

Exhibited at the 1913 Ghent Exposition Internationale. The Vine Pottery was awarded a 'Diploma Of Honour' for their wares.

Descriptive line

Blue pâte-sur-pâte plaque, 'Cupids building a house of cards', made by Lawrence Birks, Vine Pottery, Stoke-on-Trent, ca. 1910-1912

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Bumpus, Bernard, 'Lawrence Birks & The Vine Pottery' pp. 43-47, Ars Ceramica vol.7, 1990.
Bumpus, Bernard, 'Pâte-sur-Pâte', 1992
Goodfellow, Peter S., 'The Vine Pottery; Birks Rawlins & Co.' 2006, pl.59.
'The British Architect', 12 September 1913, p.165.
'Pottery Gazette' November 1913, p.1278.

Materials

Porcelain; Wood

Techniques

Pâte-sur-pâte

Categories

Ceramics

Production Type

small batch

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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