Research on an interesting artists bottle

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Kenleyboy
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If there was one field of bottle digging and collecting that I prefer to concentrate upon then it has to be the artists materials company of Winsor and Newton and being an artist and using their products since I was a young student it seems only fitting to collect and sometimes dig bottles from a company that was local to me as a child .
Winsor and Newton first started out in Rathbone Place London in 1823 and then relocating to Harrow and Wealdstone in 1937 , so a company from my "manor" so to speak . I have a nice small collection of their bottles some still with the original contents from varnishes for oil painting , gesso , turpentine and inks etc . Some I have dug , others swapped , bought and traded and for me they make a nice display and of course the reminder from my youth and the old hometown .
The other part I like about the hobby of bottle digging is the research , one tiny inanimate object suddenly opens up a whole new dimension and gradually draws you deeper within into the history behind that one simple bottle . Most bottles are fairly common enough , household bottles etc they all have a story but none quite so interesting as a bottle with a little bit of personal use rather than an everyday generic item that has served its purpose for the moment and then discarded .
Other bottles or jars can be a little more personal and used for a much longer period , part of the artists armoury to be possibly used again after refilling the precious liquid which by all accounts was quite an expensive product .One such bottle or more correctly mini flagon came my way recently , it was from another kindly soul who knew my like for such labelled bottles from the famous artists stable and it arrived well packed and thankfully survived its journey .
The little stoneware bottle stands at just over 5 inches tall , its neat in design and has that simple but elegant form and sits well in the hand for pouring its contents onto the pallets of colours ready to be worked into the artists canvass . I like things like this , just a simple everyday item sat on the shelf of a no doubt cramped artists studio where chaos reigns where hand , eye and brush work feverishly together creating yet another longed for masterpiece .I imagine this bottle sitting on an old shelf by the window where cobwebs drape down from the old sash frames and the natural light seeps through the dusty window panes affording the painter to work the magic of brush and palette in a more natural setting rather than relying on the poor studio lighting .
winsor and newton bottle A.jpg
winsor and newton bottle B .jpg
As you can see it has had a bit of use and I believe that it has been cleaned but in a sympathetic way , whoever did such cleaning was sensible enough to leave the most important part and that is the provenance of the labels and I was happy to see these still in place , it certainly made life very easy for research , if they had been removed then it would still be a desirable bottle to me personally but with the aforementioned labels intact it then led me on an interesting journey but also added a little more interest which then separates it from being "just another bottle ".
My first quest was to try and date the bottle , I had been wrong in my initial assumption that it was from around 1890s era but the earlier bottles tend to have the address impressed into the stoneware rather than the stencilled address such as this bottle which in general dates them later . It isn't always the case though , I have some other artists flagons which are impressed but these are 1920s to 1930s era but it is a general rule of thumb when trying to date things .
My next part of the research was the labels and to the rear was a fine example of a label fully intact with the company details of the bottles contents .
winsor and newton bottle C.jpg
Quite clearly its states that "owlalin" Bells Medium was first introduced in 1875 , so this is good starter , at least we had a kick off date however what didn't help was the lack of information of such a product and owlaline was mis split and should read "Owlajine" or so it states in the textile industry , but at least is was a start . All was not lost though and despite the opposing label which had darkened considerably due to the contents dripping gradually over the label , there was inscribed in fine pencil by a fair hand the name of the recipient and part of the address .
winsor and newton bottle D.jpg
Vivian Ryan of Hampstead , who was she ? Well it tuns out she was a he and by all accounts was a well known Artist . Vivian Desmon Ryan was born in Kensington London 1893 and became part of the "Suffolk Painters Set" . The connection with Suffolk came from his parents wealthy background , they owned Hintlesham Hall Estate , Suffolk . There must have been some move back to London at some stage as Vivian Ryans son was born in Hampstead London in 1920 .Vivian Ryan was married at the age of 24 in 1917 . Being deaf and dumb he avoided the terrible conflict of the trenches of the First World War and moved once again in 1939 and was living in Platts Lane Hampstead until his death in 1950 .
The name and address ties this al in rather nicely and I would say with a doubt that this bottle was owned and used by this same man .

How often do we wonder about the last person to drop that coin, ring or artefact and we then find them while metal detecting and what we find puts us in some small way towards a link to the past but it is often shrouded in mystery but that is part of the charm of what we do in the hobby . We will never know anything about the last person who owned that hammered coin or medieval buckle unless we find something that has possibly been documented . Without that label with the all important name this little standard artists bottle has given me an insight into someones life which gives that bottle a whole new meaning . A fellow artist who handled this very bottle in a time way before I was born and now a 100 years later I too handle that same bottle but view it in a completely different way to its original purpose .
Blackadder43
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Paul, I usually wax lyrical when you make your posts because of the amount of passion and information you put into them, the amount of interest into your hobby that you enthuse into others.
So
Apart from the sentence above i'm not going to do that this time
But
I was watching a good film when i saw your topic come up on the forums
You made me miss about 15 minutes of it as i read your topic at least twice :lol:

Thank you again fella :thumbsup:

ps:
I'm considering taking a similar role to a Ghost writer and copy and paste your posts into an interesting book on your hobby :ugeek:
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Kenleyboy
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Blackadder43 wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 12:50 am Paul, I usually wax lyrical when you make your posts because of the amount of passion and information you put into them, the amount of interest into your hobby that you enthuse into others.
So
Apart from the sentence above i'm not going to do that this time
But
I was watching a good film when i saw your topic come up on the forums
You made me miss about 15 minutes of it as i read your topic at least twice :lol:

Thank you again fella :thumbsup:

ps:
I'm considering taking a similar role to a Ghost writer and copy and paste your posts into an interesting book on your hobby :ugeek:
Must have been a rubbish film :lol:
Dave The Slave
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Very interesting write up, Paul.
Just caused me to look him up on the net, no harm in that.
Amazing how one object can lead us off on research.
The ultimate thing for you would now be to obtain one of his paintings.
Great research, :thumbsup:
Dave.
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Oxgirl
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Very pretty bottle but you are right, the story behind it makes it very special. Really enjoyed reading that :Star:
Yes I really don’t like Roman coins, I’m not joking
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