"Mallards" by W.E.Powell - Watercolour

Code:
 1 -129
Category:
 Artwork
Condition
 VGC
Price ($AU):
 5500.00
Qty:
 1
Circa:
 1920's
Size:
 Frame: 22.75" x 20.25" Artwork: 16" x 14"

"Mallards" by W.E.Powell (Brass Plate attached lower center of frame)

A major work of art by the very much resp[ected ROYAL WORCESTER ARTIST & PAINTER.

Original Watercolour as per original Gallery Sticker

OSTRANGER GALLERIES 319 S. Wabash Ave. Chicago 4 ILL.

Henry Sandon, in his book "Royal Worcester Porcelain" from 1862 -Present Day. DESCRIBES this artist. POWELL, William. b.1878, at factory from 1900 to 1950.. Fine specialist painter of British bird subjects and flowers. He spent most of his spare time in the country and devoted many years to the study of birds, painting them with great accuracy. He was a hunchback and a dwarf, but the most cheerful of men that one could meet. The company put him to paint in the gilding room so that the visitors who were not allowed to go through the men's painting department) could see a painter at work and his cheerful personality greatly impressed the visitors, many of whom, returned to the factory in recent years, ask about the little hunchback who was perched upon his specially high stool doing his beautiful birds, always willing to stop and talk. His contented approach to his work is typified by one remark he made to a visitor who asked him why he did not ask for more than 6d. per plate for his paintings, to be met with the answer, 'I am well contented'. A box camera would always be with him when he went for a walk in the country so that he could photograph the birds for future study. In his last years he got very slow and Ted Townsend clearly remembers the first sight he had of the men's painting department on returning from the Second World war and seeing Powell surrounded by the huge piles of plates requiring bird paintings to complete an order for canada. Ted was put onto the job of helping to complete the order, even though the pattern book of this pattern to this day notes 'Birds by Powell'.

W E Powell:            COMMENTS BY Robert Jones 10/11/2012

I have two watercolours signed W E Powell, both of which are bird studies (Snipe and Mallard.) I bought them principally because I was familiar with his work for The Worcester Royal Porcelain Co. as I own two Royal Worcester vases from the early 1900's that bear exactly the same signature as the watercolours. They are both painted with storks at an oasis.

Henry Sandon, in his book "Royal Worcester Porcelain" lists two artists by the name of Powell, William and Walter.

William is listed as working at Royal Worcester between 1900 and 1950. Walter originally worked for a rival Worcester porcelain company called Hadleys, but according to Sandon, moved to Royal Worcester in "about 1900." There is no mention of when he ceased to work at the factory, save to say that he was still painting there in 1912.

Most, if not all references that I can find for the artist who painted my watercolours list the name as William E Powell.

However, I believe this to be a common mistake. Firstly, although William achieved some fame as a painter of birds for Royal Worcester, the quality and style of his work, whilst being popular, was of quite an inferior quality. 

Secondly, and I believe conclusively, I have in the past owned a Hadley vase painted with storks and bearing the exact same signature as the watercolours and Royal Worcester stork vases.

I have read the story of Walter losing his legs in Mesopotamia also, and of him having to be propped up in bed in order to continue painting, but the lack of any history at Worcester concerning him after 1912 might also point to this being true.