Perhaps best known for his ceramics, and his connections with William de Morgan and Harold Rathbone, Dressler was also a talented sculptor. Benedict Read says he was "locally based" (331), but this is rather misleading: born in London, he had studied under Edouard Lantéri and Joseph Edgar Boehm, as well as becoming later a member of the Art Workers Guild (see Cavanagh 327). In 1886 he stayed with Ruskin at Brantwood (see Cavanagh 327), and two years later completed a fine 6" high bust of him, now in the National Portrait Gallery (see offsite here). This panel on St George's Hall demonstrates another reason for Liverpool's civic pride, especially in view of the terrible harvest of 1879. — Jacqueline Banerjee

A co-founder of the Della Robbia Pottery in 1894, alongside Harold Rathbone, Dressler concentrated on architectural ceramics and plaques. His inability to get on with Rathbone and the relative lack of success of this side of the venture resulted in Dressler's departure” by 1897. He was wedded to the use of local materials and labour, often being influenced by his surroundings in choice of subject matter. Dressler went on to found the Medmenham Pottery in Buckinghamshire. — Fine Art Society Story I

Portraits and other sculpture in the round

Medals and circular bas reliefs

Bas reliefs

Architectural bas reliefs


Cavanagh, Terry. The Public Sculpture of Liverpool. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1996.

The Fine Art Society Story. Part I. London: The Fine Art Society, 2001. Catalogue Number 52.

Read, Benedict. Victorian Sculpture. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1982.

The Studio, 13 (1898): 189.

Last modified 9 September 2021