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  • Place of origin:

    Southall (made)

  • Date:

    1899 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Martin Brothers (designer)
    Martin Brothers (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Salt-glazed stoneware, with incised decoration

  • Credit Line:

    The 2nd Lieutenant Francis Bedford Marsh 1914-1918 War Memorial Gift

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125, Edwin and Susan Davies Gallery, case 3

Object Type
The Martin brothers were intensely interested in surface decoration. They made almost any type of ware from clock cases to table wares to jardinières. Their most celebrated wares are the sculptural bird-headed tobacco jars. The Martins worked exclusively in salt-glazed stoneware which results in the distinctive semi-matt, speckled surface and a limited colour range of browns, blues and greens. They usually added incised decoration and applied ornament.

Between them, the four Martin brothers formed a full pottery team. Robert Wallace (the eldest), was generally responsible for throwing and modelling, Walter Fraser for decorating and Edwin Bruce for glaze development and kiln management. From the late 1870s Charles ran the brothers' sales from their shop in Brownlow Street, Holborn. However, they did have outside help for both the practical side of the business and and also for designs and modelling from designer Mark V. Marshall and H.F. Fawcett, an artist who had previously worked with William De Morgan. Fawcett designed in the Japanese manner and produced sketches for the brothers which they used for many years.

Design & Designing
The brothers' move to Southall in 1879 was accompanied by an interest in Japanese art. Like many of their contemporaries, they favoured a loose arrangement of naturalistically-drawn flowers and foliage owing a direct debt to Japanese woodblock prints, particularly those of Hokusai. During the 1870s Japanese woodblock-printed books were easily available among artistic circles. Although this vase was made more than 25 years later, such Japanese-style decoration remained within the brothers' decorative vocabulary. Other sources might be sketches by H.F. Fawcett and prints illustrating botanical, insect and other specimens.

Physical description

This vase with naturalistic floral designs is done in a manner inspired by Japanese art. The decoration is incised into the natural pale colour of the body, and a thickish dark glaze is applied to the ground of the pot.

Place of Origin

Southall (made)


1899 (made)


Martin Brothers (designer)
Martin Brothers (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Salt-glazed stoneware, with incised decoration

Marks and inscriptions

Incised '5-1899/Martin Bros./ London and Southall'


Height: 28 cm, Width: 20 cm

Object history note

Designed and made by the Martin Brothers, Southall, London. Exhibited in Japan, 01/10/1992-05/05/1993.

Descriptive line

Vase, salt-glazed stoneware with incised floral designs, designed and manufactured by Martin Brothers, Southall, 1899

Labels and date

British Galleries:

The Martin Brothers employed a wide range of fashionable styles in their work. The subject and design of the iris motif on this vase was inspired by Japanese woodblock prints. [27/03/2003]
Vase 'Martin Ware'
made by R.W. Martin & Brothers, Southall, Middlesex, England, 1899
Mark: Martin Bros. London & Southall 5-1899', incised

Salt-glazed stoneware with incised decoration and coloured glazes

C.464-1919 The 2nd Lieutenant Francis Bedford Marsh (1914-1918) War Memorial Gift [23/05/2008]

Production Note

Dated 1899

Subjects depicted



Ceramics; Stoneware; Vases; British Galleries


Ceramics Collection

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