A to Z Anthology

As the Society no longer produces newsletters, we will post occasional items of interest here.
Topics will be chosen at random.
Your contributions are welcome.

A is for Amateurs

Maling or mongrel? That's the issue raised by this query:

"I have a Maling charger, 32cm diameter, with the impressed triangle mark. I think this is one of a series, probably of the Muses. The one I have is titled Music and bears the artist's initials HRT. On the reverse the initials are repeated together with the date 1892. There is also an impressed mark 11.91. Any ideas on the artist, and are these quite common?"

We suggest it was painted outside the pottery by an enthusiastic amateur - so it's more pooch than pedigree (though we have seen worse). Similar items appear quite often and it may be that local art shops bought supplies of blank Maling ware for their genteel Victorian clients to decorate as a pastime.

The date of 1892 is likely to be correct for the year it was painted, with the blank being made in the previous year - November 1891. Maling's designer around this time was Charles Miguet, so the initials are nothing to do with him. Indeed, signatures were not common. See "S is for Star Sign(er)s" for more.

Amateur pieces reappear in the 1930s, when Miss Theo Maling was running evening classes in pottery decoration. No prizes for guessing where she got hold of the pots!

There were nine Greek Muses. Our dictionary says that Calliope was the Muse of epic pottery
...but it was a very cheap dictionary and may contain misprints.

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