Tag Archives: Charlotte Rhead

Book Review: Crown Ducal Snow Glaze, by Ian Newton

It’s harder than you might think to produce a unique and useful reference guide, but I believe that Ian Newton has done exactly that with his book Crown Ducal Snow Glaze.

It’s an A5-size, 52-page guide to the ‘snow glaze’ pottery designs produced by Charlotte Rhead for A.G. Richardson from 1935 to 1939 and sold under the Crown Ducal Ware branding.

The majority of the book is taken up with an illustrated guide to all known snow glaze patterns. These are listed in numerical order, and each pattern is illustrated — where the author was unable to find a photo, he has digitally recreated the pattern for collectors to use as a guide.

Crown Ducal Snow Glaze by Ian Newton

Unlike some books of this type, Crown Ducal Snow Glaze is printed on high quality glossy paper, is well laid out, and the photos are sharp and accurately reproduced, making them a pleasure to browse.

For anyone who collects or trades in Charlotte Rhead’s snow glaze designs, this book is an essential reference guide and well worth the modest purchase price. Highly recommended.

For more information or to buy a copy of Crown Ducal Snow Glaze, visit www.rhead-crownducal.info.

Book title: Crown Ducal Snow Glaze Tableware and Decorative Pottery
Author: Ian Newton
ISBN: 9780957146501
Format: A5 paperback, 52 pages
Price: £9.50 (£10.70 inc. UK P&P)

Tubes and Charlotte Rhead

You may have seen our June Newsletter detailing the work of Charlotte Rhead and how she became a master of tube-lining. You’ll be familiar with the style – patterns are outlined using liquid clay, as we described in the Newsletter “rather like icing a cake”!

To illustrate her technique I’ve included some that are currently on eBay. You can always find examples of her work here and sometime some real gems come up for auction!

As with all pottery designers Charlotte Rhead designed many patterns some more collectable than others. It isn’t just the pattern that can affect an items value though, its shape and also pottery mark can play an important role. If at all posssible I’d always suggest trying to obtain pieces that have her signature mark on the base – some pieces even though they are Charlotte Rhead patterns don’t have this.

Always, be sure to check the piece over so you’re confident about it’s condition and are aware of any faults it may have before you purchase. With eBay always feel free to ask the seller questions about the item before you bid. If a seller is unhelpful or doesn’t answer be weiry about bidding, while there are lots of decent sellers on eBay there are also some roque traders.

Fakes and Reproductions – Who Takes The Rap?

“There’s an unspoken rule in trading antiques that it is the buyer’s responsibility to determine the authenticity of the pieces.”

This interesting quote came not from the Delboy Trotter manual of market trading, but from an article I happened across on the ChinaDaily.com website, reporting the successful prosecution of an antique coin dealer for selling 110 counterfeit coins, which he claimed had been unearthed at a construction site.

His three year jail sentence has generated something of an uproar amongst his fellow antique dealers, who it seems are not usually held to the same ethical standards as other industries – it seems that the scale and bare-faced cheek of the offence were this dealer’s downfall.

Closer To Home

While reputable dealers in the UK take pride in being able to vouch for the quality and authenticity of their stock, fakes are not unknown, as too are honest mistakes and ambiguous labelling by dealers and auction houses.

Take the seemingly innocuous phrase “Marked as….” for example. Carelessly read, it may be interpreted as “This object is…” but the reality is that it may mean completely the opposite – “This object is pretending to be….

An example that comes to mind is Troika Pottery. At more than one auction house in Yorkshire and the Midlands I have seen objects described as “Marked as Troika” – when they are quite obviously not. In one case, several genuine pieces of Troika sat alongside two very ordinary studio pottery vases that had simply had a Troika-style mark applied to their base. Yet the catalogue suggested that all pieces were Troika.

Look at it this way – if I stuck a Mercedes badge on my Ford, could I sell it as a Mercedes?

What Should You Do?

The reality is that whatever the legal niceties of a situation, buyers should beware:

  • Research what you are buying
  • Ask questions – particularly of a dealer
  • Look out for inexplicable anomalies or cagey wording in items’ descriptions
  • If you aren’t convinced, walk away, or just buy it anyway – but only as an aesthetically-pleasing object, nothing more.

I used Troika as an example as it is currently popular, yet new enough for it not to be all that widely understood. A couple of developments over the last year also seem to me to have increased the likelihood of fakes appearing:

  1. Authentic unpainted pieces have been being sold, cheaply and in quite high volumes, through auction houses and on eBay. These are genuine, but for some reason were never decorated. I imagine it would be relatively simple for someone with the right skills to decorate these and pass them off as originals.
  2. A selection of the original moulds, sold to a private collector when the pottery closed in 1983, have been made available for sale. While there is every possibility these will go to a good home, they may also not do, and one imagines could be used to produce new pieces, to be sold as apparent bargains at car boots, etc..

To learn more about Troika pottery, feel free to browse our wide selection of genuine Troika Pottery and Troika Marks.

When Is Charlotte Rhead Not Charlotte Rhead?

More subtle variations of this problem also exist – one notable example is that of Charlotte Rhead and Crown Ducal. It appears that various moulds and various trademarks were both separately, and legitimately, sold to the same person – who then commenced manufacturing items from the moulds, and adding the trademarks he had purchased to them. This does of course create a thoroughly misleading impression of the provenance of these modern pieces.

These links have more information, and are worth a visit:

  • Crown Ducal by Charlotte Rhead – Reproductions
  • Beware the Moulds – an article about what has happened
  • SylvaC fakes – Some information on SylvaC fakes and reproductions

Remember – always feel free to buy a dubious item for the pleasure it gives you, but make sure you know what you are looking at, and pay accordingly.