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From Renaissance to Regent Street: the Della Robbia Pottery, Birkenhead

6th June 2016

Categories: News

The Williamson Art Gallery & Museum, Birkenhead, is holding a summer exhibition in 2016, focussed on the Della Robbia Pottery, without doubt the most interesting manifestation of the Arts & Crafts Movement in the Merseyside area. The gallery holds the largest collection of this unique enterprise that was in production 1894 – 1906 and was the brain child of Harold Rathbone, a junior member of the distinguished Liverpool family.
 
Harold Rathbone, was a pupil of Pre-Raphaelite painter Ford Madox Brown and an ardent follower of William Morris, around whom the whole of Arts & Crafts movement revolved. The exhibition includes substantial loans from National Museums Liverpool, the Ruskin Library and from private collections in the UK and Italy. The exhibition has been generously supported by Liverpool John Moores University, Paul Mellon Foundation and Rathbone Brothers:
"We are delighted that the Williamson Art Gallery & Museum is holding a dedicated exhibition to the work of Harold Rathbone and the founding of the Della Robbia Pottery. The heritage of the Rathbone name is something we, as a company, are immensely proud of, and the exhibition will undoubtedly attract the attention of pottery lovers the world over.”
 
It is co-curated by Colin Simpson, Wirral’s Principal Museums Officer, and Juliet Carroll a PhD student at John Moores University; Colin Simpson writes:
“Juliet Carroll has uncovered some fascinating possibilities in exploring the Italian travel of Harold Rathbone and his family. Harold started the Della Robbia Pottery with high ideals to inject both colour and joy into British life inspired by his visits to Italy, and to expand the minds and talents of those who worked for him. The pottery was a magnificent experiment putting William Morris’s Arts & Crafts principles into practice and this exhibition extends our ideas of its origins and influences.”
 
The exhibition is accompanied by a volume of essays, published by Liverpool University Press and supported by the Paul Mellon Foundation, Liverpool John Moores University and the Arts & Humanities Research Council.

There will be a Private View for the exhibition on the evening of Friday 17th June, which will be opened by Nunzia di Cristo in Bertali, Honorary Italian Consul, and a symposium on Saturday 18th June with a short talk by each contributor to the book.

Click here for further details.

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