Della Robbia Pottery
English, active 1894–1906
6.4 x 34 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with funds from the Mrs. George H. Sellers donation
A relatively short-lived venture, the Della Robbia Pottery was founded by Harold Steward Rathbone (1858–1929) in 1894 and named after the famed fifteenth-century Florentine sculptor Luca della Robbia. It operated out of Birkenhead near Liverpool, a thriving industrial community with a strong interest in the arts. Combining the sensibilities of the Arts and Crafts movement with the flair of the Pre-Raphaelites, this charger is typical of Della Robbia’s production, which often followed Italian prototypes. The WAG piece takes its inspiration from a work by the early Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli. Despite royal patronage, the support of the Pre-Raphaelites and William Morris, as well as high-end retailers selling its wares, the niche market was too small and the pottery struggled, eventually closing in 1906.