This is an important and sublimely painted porcelain plaque by Octar Copson at Royal Worcester in the year 1880, signed and dated by the artist. The plaque is framed in a modern gilded wood frame.

 

The original Worcester factory was founded in the mid 18th Century and belongs to the group of famous pioneering potteries in Britain. It went through various changes and take overs, and in the mid 19th Century it merged with Chamberlains and Grainger, both earlier split-offs, taking the new name "Royal Worcester". The pottery distinguished itself with its extremely high quality of artwork, hiring the best artists and always coming up with very vivid designs full of flowers, birds and fruits. It was in operation until the early 21st Century but eventually succumbed to the changing times.

 

Copson was born in 1851 and worked at Royal Worcester from around 1872, first as a china painter and then as the Head Decorator and Art Director. Although perhaps not the most well-known Royal Worcester painter today, it was Octar Copson who started the famous tradition of the "Painted Fruit" style. This started with a similar plaque to this one, commissioned in the same year (1880) by a local farmer to commemorate the introduction of the Pershore plum. Copson left the factory in 1880 and emigrated to the US in 1893. Only a small number of plaques by Copson survive, including one kept in the Worcester factory's museum collection. 

 

Painting fruits to this standard is a very complex process, and fruit painters used to take at least 7 years to be trained. The fruits are painted in a palette of translucent colours, applied in layers that each receive a separate firing - a time consuming and risky process, at each stage of which things can go wrong and the whole piece can get lost. This does explain, however, the extraordinary depth of colour achieved in this piece.

 

CONDITION REPORT This plaque is in perfect condition; the frame is in excellent condition apart from some age cracks around the corners, and one small wooden bead is missing. The frame is an added decorative item of protection that was added in the 20th Century and does not form part of the antique value of this piece.

 

Antique British porcelain is never perfect. Kilns were fired on coal in the 1800s, and this meant that china from that period can have some firing specks from flying particles. British makers were also known for their experimentation, and sometimes this resulted in technically imperfect results. Due to the shrinkage in the kiln, items can have small firing lines or develop crazing over time, which should not be seen as damage but as an imperfection of the maker's recipes, probably unknown at the time of making. Items have often been used for many years and can have normal signs of wear, and gilt can have signs of slight disintegration even if never handled. I will reflect any damage, repairs, obvious stress marks, crazing or heavy wear in the item description but some minor scratches, nicks, stains and gilt disintegration can be normal for vintage items and need to be taken into account.

 

There is widespread confusion on the internet about the difference between chips and nicks, or hairlines and cracks. I will reflect any damage as truthfully as I can, i.e. a nick is a tiny bit of damage smaller than 1mm and a chip is something you can easily see with the eye; a glazing line is a break in the glazing only; hairline is extremely tight and/or superficial and not picked up by the finger; and a crack is obvious both to the eye and the finger. Etcetera - I try to be as accurate as I can and please feel free to ask questions or request more detailed pictures!

 

DIMENSIONS 38 X 38cm (15" X 15"); including frame 56 X 56cm (22" X 22").

 

SHIPPING I ship worldwide from the UK. Due to its value this shipment will be insured and therefore the shipping charge will be more than usual. Please note that due to the pandemic shipping costs have generally gone up steeply, and although I use only the most reliable couriers, there can sometimes be some delays.

Royal Worcester porcelain plaque, flowers and fruits by Copson, 1880

SKU: LT-RW20
£6,000Price
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