Doulton in His Studio: Tympanum relief

Mr Doulton in His Studio: Tympanum Relief. George Tinworth, 1843-1913. c.1878 (the date of the building). Terracotta. Southbank House, the former premises of Doulton's Pottery, 81 Black Prince Road (corner of Lambeth High Street and Black Prince Road), London SE11. This is the key decorative element of many such elements on both façades of this highly ornamented building. [Click on this and the following image for larger pictures.]

Close-up of Doulton in His Studio

Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner describe the tympanum as bearing "a pleasant little relief of potters" (367), but it depicts something more specific than that. It shows Henry Doulton, seated, displaying his key artists and their finest work to two visitors, perhaps potential buyers, with another employee passing behind him, and a range of pottery in the background. His foremost female artist, Hannah Bolton Barlow (1851-1916), famous for her sgraffito animal designs, is to the left (easily recognisable from her portrait; see also Wilkinson). She is clearly working with an etching tool, and has her pet cat under her chair. Behind her is a large vase with a lion's head design. But proudly centre-stage, holding another splendid piece, is Tinworth himself. The work looks like a smaller version of his celebrated History of England vase. In the right-hand corner, near another two vases, is Tinworth's GT monogram.

It was fitting that this prominent relief, right over the main entrance, should have been the work of Tinworth, who was the first of the many artists from the Lambeth School of Art to enter the employ of Doulton between 1866 and the end of the century. Doulton had encouraged his new craftsman and fostered his "original and prolific talent," and this talent in turn had been "largely responsible for the success of the art pottery studio at Lambeth" (Mckeown 10). Apart from its artistic and historical value as an illustration, the relief above the entrance to this Grade II listed building is the focus of an elaborate piece of architectural sculpture — it is, as the building text says, a "[g]ood example of decorative art integrated with building."

Tinworth is also remembered in the name of a nearby road off the Albert Embankment, Tinworth Street is about halfway between Vauxhall Bridge and Lambeth Bridge.

Photographs and text by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.

Related Material


Cherry, Bridget, and Nikolaus Pevsner. London: South. Buildings of England series. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002. Print.

McKeown, Julie. "Barlow, Hannah Bolton (1851-1916)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online ed. Web. 18 December 2013.

_____. Royal Doulton. Princes Risborough, Bucks: Shire, 2004. Print.

"Southbank House, Lambeth." British Listed Buildings. Web. 18 December 2013.

Wilkinson, Philip. "Black Prince Road, London." English Buildings. Web. 18 December 2013.

Last modified 18 December 2013