A Pair of Coalport Cornucopias by Sir Edgar Bertram Mackennal. c. 1890. Porcelain, 12” h x 8 ½” w x 6 ½” d. Private collection. [Click on images to enlarge them.]

According to the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust in Coalbrookdale, Telford, Shropshire, the factory produced very few white figures and did so only for a fairly brief time.

There is no factory record of the range of different models, or of the volume of production, but there were certainly some limited production, including a working man with a basket. . . an unspecified pair of male and female figures, and a large scale figure of a monkey (on display here at the Museum). . . . These pieces coincide with the short period of employment at Coalport of the Australian born sculptor E. Bertram Mackennal. He came to Britain in 1881 to study, moved to Paris, then returned to England, where he had “a position as head of the art department in a pottery at Coalport, Shropshire”. It is not clear how long he worked here or exactly what his responsibilities were;  however by 1889 he had returned to Australia, having won a competition to decorate Government House in Melbourne. By 1891 he was back in Paris, and exhibited a nude statue “Circe” at the Paris Salon in 1893. This made his name, was shown at the Royal Academy in 1894, and he became much sought after. His style as a sculptor, and the dates of his employment, suggest very strongly that he was responsible for the original modelling of these figures



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Created 5 April 2016