Della Robbia Pottery, Birkenhead, 1894-1906

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The Della Robbia Pottery was an integral part of the British Arts and Crafts Movement. The intention was to produce artistically designed ceramics for architectural and domestic use, inspired by works from sixteenth-century Italy and the British Pre- Raphelite tradition. The guiding philosophy of the founder, Harold Rathbone, was that of William Morris, and he followed this rigidly, encouraging his pottery artists to express themselves freely but deploring slickness and any semblance of mass production. Whilst this resulted in some inspired and memorable designs, other pieces lacked sophistication and were not easy to sell. The Pottery never made a working profit, and when artistic tastes changed in the 1900s it was forced to close. Della Robbia wares have recently enjoyed a revival in popularity and this comprehensive, beautifully illustrated history examines the background circumstances and objectives of the pottery, as well as the lives of those who worked there.

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