Artists flagons

Post Reply
User avatar
Kenleyboy
Posts: 1033
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2020 3:08 pm
Has thanked: 2069 times
Been thanked: 1718 times

Sadly no metal detecting or bottle digging at the moment but that irritation hasn't got in the way of some neat finds to add to my main interest .
Not dug but traded this week in the shape of these miniature artists flagons .
I love these dinky little vessels which are easy to display .The Winsor and Newton white flagon joins a small army of similar vessels all of which come from the Rathbone place address , a small but thriving artists quarter in central London .
Eminent artists such as Turner and Constable worked within the same vicinity and used their products.
The two darker flagons are also artists bottles from another renowned artists supplier by the name of George Rowney who rivalled Winsor and Newton and operated at 51 Rathbone place .

20201112_143948.jpg


Rowneys began their business in 1783 and originally were suppliers of wig and perfume powder .It was said that when George IV discarded his own wig it was the demise in popularity of fashionable wig wearing that saw the end of Rowneys wig powder business .However not to be put out by the Kings thoughtless disregard for the end of a fashion status they turned their attentions to making and supplying quality artist materials to rival those of Winsor and Newtons who were a mere stones throw away at 38 Rathbone Place .
The vessels from both companies carry the makers mark of Doulton Lambeth founded by John Doulton 1793 -1826 . It too was a thriving business especially as the main packaging material was pottery used to carry liquids. Inks were the mainstay of every day life supplied in all forms for many uses from printing , schools and businesses and of course artists. With easy access to the River Thames , barges were loaded up with goods and taken off up or downstream to the many destinations along this vast Riverway and it was a lucrative business for all concerned.
The address details are impressed into the clay while soft prior to firing in the kilns that operated day and night such was the demand .
The single bottle or Porter , although not artist related is still worthy of a mention . I picked this up by chance at our local market town who have a regular street auction and while ambling along I spotted this wedged in a box of odd and ends .Quite why this was in the box amongst relatively modern junk is a mystery as it dates from about 1850 , possibly earlier . Maybe a house clearance but who knows , all I knew was I wanted it.
This one too is impressed with the surname of a local vets , this however lacks the makers stamp so it is anyones guess who were the potters. I doubt i will find out exactly who they are as there were many potters up and down the Country and it wasnt unusual to find stoneware such as this one to be completely devoid of any makers mark .The fact that this bottle like the others are still in remarkable intact condition surviving well over 150 years after passing through so many hands , all have a story to tell .
20201112_144022.jpg
User avatar
Kenleyboy
Posts: 1033
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2020 3:08 pm
Has thanked: 2069 times
Been thanked: 1718 times

Flagons
Flagons
Porter
Porter
User avatar
Oxgirl
Posts: 11815
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2020 4:21 pm
Location: Oxfordshire
Has thanked: 8728 times
Been thanked: 10070 times

Love that white bottle and haven’t seen one like that before. Are they unusual?

Love the history element and had no idea they started as wig powder people. Co-incidentally I was talking to someone today about the wig fashion and Queen Elizabeth. Wasn’t it her thin, balding head of hair that propelled wigs into high fashion? I should google that :D
Yes I really don’t like Roman coins, I’m not joking
User avatar
Littleboot
Posts: 711
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2020 9:49 pm
Location: Normandy.
Has thanked: 1010 times
Been thanked: 1030 times

Great post as always.....the bottles are beautiful. I never knew that Rowneys made wig powder to start with. It does make a lot of sense as pigments and finely ground minerals are the mainstay of both trades. In the first half of the 18th century wig powder was always white.....but as the century wore on it was usual for it to be tinted in shades of blue and grey.

So I daresay the switch wasn't that difficult. Especially as often these companies sold the raw pigment and not the actual paint as we buy it today. It is highly likely those flagons contained a dry powder or perhaps linseed oil or similar to mix with the dry component. Of course artists can still buy the dry pigments today and mix them with whatever they choose to create paint....acrylic, egg (to make tempura) and of course various oils. Many modern alternatives added to that list now.To this day, Rowneys and Winsor & Newton are more or less equally placed in the market in terms of price and quality.

It is interesting to consider how fashions are started and finished. My mum always told me the story of how Clark Gable, the biggest male star in Hollywood between the mid-30's and late 40's, was frequently featured not wearing a vest under his shirt. (No doubt part of his appeal for the ladies :lol: ) And after one such movie it badly affected the vest industry and such garments went out of fashion.
Before the era of movie stars it was royalty and nobility setting the trends....and whole swathes of gentry would mimic this even though the fashion came about to cater for a particular issue with the King or Noble who started it. I have some coins of Henri II (1547-1559) and the style of his portrait is markedly different from the previous clean-shaven, long haired look that came before him. He had adopted a beard due to scars on his chin.
Louis 13 became bald early and embraced the wig as a fashion statement.
Louis 14 came to the throne very early as a child. I have coins that span his long reign and as a boy-King the coins are even categorized by the length of the lock of hair beside his face (long lock or short lock). He was famed for the beauty of his hair as a young man. But illness meant he lost much of his hair in his 20's and wore increasingly elaborate wigs. Wigs were also worn to disguise the effects of syphilis. Fashion eh? I still have a dress in a box somewhere which dates from the early 80's and has one of those ludicrous over-blown collars Diana made popular.
"The forest was shrinking, but the trees kept voting for the axe, for the axe was clever and convinced the trees that because his handle was made of wood he was one of them."
User avatar
Steve_JT
Posts: 763
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2020 8:10 am
Location: Salisbury
Has thanked: 587 times
Been thanked: 1045 times

What a great write up, always an interesting read from your exploits. Nice to have the provenance and usage around an object :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Odd that something like this was thrown away with little thought, but like some say

Yesterdays rubbish is todays treasure :thumbsup:

Regards Steve
A foolish faith in authority, is the worst enemy of truth." Albert Einstein
Blackadder43
Posts: 3686
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2020 4:08 pm
Has thanked: 2580 times
Been thanked: 2190 times

Great write up fella.....and great find at the market place too :clapping:

Out of interest, and be honest....how many bottles do you have on display in your house?
And do you ever sneak an odd bottle or 2 on a shelf without the wife seeing? :lol:
Dave The Slave
Posts: 3283
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2020 6:36 pm
Has thanked: 9964 times
Been thanked: 3474 times

Great write up, Paul.
Interesting background on the Artists materials.
Not into Art as such but like watching, Fake or Fortune and the spin off series with Bendor Grosvenor, Britain`s Lost Masterpieces. The forensic work done by the 2 Art experts, Simon and Allegra is fascinating.
You never know, you may come across a pot belonging to Turner, best find out where he lived.
Cheers, :thumbsup:
Dave.
User avatar
Kenleyboy
Posts: 1033
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2020 3:08 pm
Has thanked: 2069 times
Been thanked: 1718 times

Oxgirl wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 12:34 am Love that white bottle and haven’t seen one like that before. Are they unusual?

Love the history element and had no idea they started as wig powder people. Co-incidentally I was talking to someone today about the wig fashion and Queen Elizabeth. Wasn’t it her thin, balding head of hair that propelled wigs into high fashion? I should google that :D
I have three of those little white stoneware Winsor and newton flagons , never seen them before then all of a sudden they come along like buses . :thumbsup:
User avatar
Kenleyboy
Posts: 1033
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2020 3:08 pm
Has thanked: 2069 times
Been thanked: 1718 times

Littleboot wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 9:31 am Great post as always.....the bottles are beautiful. I never knew that Rowneys made wig powder to start with. It does make a lot of sense as pigments and finely ground minerals are the mainstay of both trades. In the first half of the 18th century wig powder was always white.....but as the century wore on it was usual for it to be tinted in shades of blue and grey.

So I daresay the switch wasn't that difficult. Especially as often these companies sold the raw pigment and not the actual paint as we buy it today. It is highly likely those flagons contained a dry powder or perhaps linseed oil or similar to mix with the dry component. Of course artists can still buy the dry pigments today and mix them with whatever they choose to create paint....acrylic, egg (to make tempura) and of course various oils. Many modern alternatives added to that list now.To this day, Rowneys and Winsor & Newton are more or less equally placed in the market in terms of price and quality.

It is interesting to consider how fashions are started and finished. My mum always told me the story of how Clark Gable, the biggest male star in Hollywood between the mid-30's and late 40's, was frequently featured not wearing a vest under his shirt. (No doubt part of his appeal for the ladies :lol: ) And after one such movie it badly affected the vest industry and such garments went out of fashion.
Before the era of movie stars it was royalty and nobility setting the trends....and whole swathes of gentry would mimic this even though the fashion came about to cater for a particular issue with the King or Noble who started it. I have some coins of Henri II (1547-1559) and the style of his portrait is markedly different from the previous clean-shaven, long haired look that came before him. He had adopted a beard due to scars on his chin.
Louis 13 became bald early and embraced the wig as a fashion statement.
Louis 14 came to the throne very early as a child. I have coins that span his long reign and as a boy-King the coins are even categorized by the length of the lock of hair beside his face (long lock or short lock). He was famed for the beauty of his hair as a young man. But illness meant he lost much of his hair in his 20's and wore increasingly elaborate wigs. Wigs were also worn to disguise the effects of syphilis. Fashion eh? I still have a dress in a box somewhere which dates from the early 80's and has one of those ludicrous over-blown collars Diana made popular.
Great response post . You are quite right , they would have had many uses and carried dry or liduid solutions for artists purposes .
The wig scenario is quite interesting and the coloured pigments and powders would have other uses such as artists paints etc . I never thought of it like that's but makes sense .
User avatar
Kenleyboy
Posts: 1033
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2020 3:08 pm
Has thanked: 2069 times
Been thanked: 1718 times

Blackadder43 wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 12:38 pm Great write up fella.....and great find at the market place too :clapping:

Out of interest, and be honest....how many bottles do you have on display in your house?
And do you ever sneak an odd bottle or 2 on a shelf without the wife seeing? :lol:
It may sound like a lot but. I can assure you it's a scratch compared to some collections I have seen which run into thousands which is a little too overwhelming for me .
We have a small utility rooom which was the original kitchen and I have 150 bottles on shelves which are a mix of various types . About 60 odd ginger beers bottles , same with inks and the rest a mix of poisons . These have all be dug except for a few swapsies . I have my artists bottles in my study and the are about 25 of those .
I have managed to sneak a few indoors that I have purchased as my wife is under the illusion that all the bottles I own have been dug . I didn't dig her out a nice gold ring once so that lets me off the hook :thumbsup:
Post Reply