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  • grotesqueries

    In the late 19th century and early 20th century. The Martin Brothers in England produced stoneware scultpures of really ugky birds. They were called grotesqueries, were used has tobacco jars and popular during the Arts and Crafts movement. Has any one of you seen intarsia versions of these? Made them? Have pictures? Go google "Martin brothers ugly bird" and you will see what I am talking about.

    Dave Van Ess

  • #2
    Wow Dave! - As a UK born ceramist and part time studio pottery in my past the last place I'd expect to see someone discussing Martinware is on this forum!!!

    Whilst I've seen their product in museums in Stoke-on-Trent I doubt they have traveled far enough afield to raise interest from scrollers. If you do a google image search on 'Martinware birds' it will throw up some examples of the work and there is also website of the company listed as but it doesn't show many of the birds, I suspect because the company was better known for its grotesque face and head jars, an idea which in more recent times has been picked up in a more whimsical style by a company known as Pretty Ugly Pottery

    I think that if you wanted to produce similar items in intarsia you would need to create your own patterns maybe using their original pieces as a design starting point. Alternatively take at look at the vultures in Disney's Dumbo - they aren't so different!
    Jim in Mexico

    Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
    - Albert Einstein


    • #3
      Here are some phots of some clasic Martin Brothers
      Ugly Bird" I would buy one but they go for about $30,000

      Last edited by DaveVanEss; 08-07-2013, 01:37 PM.


      • #4
        Jim, I suspected you'd have a response here, given your background. As a long-ago collector of Doulton art pottery, I once bought a Martin Bros piece, but it was an incised piece, not a grotesque--that was all I could afford.

        And I, too, was surprised to find Dave's post here, but why not? Would certainly be great in any medium.

        Follow me on my blog:


        • #5
          Most anyone can do a cute puppy. But to make an ugly bird and make it appealing, that would take big talent and would be pushing the envelope of Intrasia.


          ps I am also well read on the Arts and Crafts movement and its three main schools. Mission, Pairie and Art Nouveau My trips to Asia allow to see the influence they have had on this period and I share Charles Greene's Affair with Asia. I also collect period works of Elbert Hubbard. My favorite designer is Charles Rene MacIntoch and I believe it was his work that helped move Art Noveau to Art Deco. (I hope to own a piece of his work some day.) I build furniture of that period and when I visit the Gamble house in Pasadena, I end up giving the lecture. So knowing about ugly birds is not really a stretch.

          I am also very interested in 13th century Europian history but that is for another time.


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