A Good Rhead, Charlotte That Is!

crhead bowl
Charlotte Rhead Crown Ducal Bowl circa 1930s

Isn’t this bowl pretty? I love this type of pottery. It is by a designer I had not heard of until this weekend when I was binge-watching a discontinued show I loved called “Cash in the Attic.” Yes, I am that person. “Antiques Roadshow,” “Cash in the Attic,” “Flea Market Flip” they are my kind of shows. Well, I was watching the show and someone had this gem of a bowl, not the one pictured here but another one. It happened to be worth some money. It was then that Paul Hayes (look him up, he’s adorable and well-educated on his subject, a lethal combination) explained who Charlotte Rhead was and why her pottery was important. So who was she?

crhead wallvase
Charlotte Rhead Wall Pocket circa 1930s
crhead ewer
Charlotte Rhead Wood’s Pottery Arabesque Ewer circa 1920

According to World Collector’s Net, Charlotte Rhead was a woman who was born in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent in 1885. She came from a long line of potters. Her father, Frederick Alfred Rhead worked at Minton and her brother, Frederick Hurten Rhead became a famous pottery designer in his own right. Charlotte and her sister studied at the Fenton School of Art in the early 1900s.

After art school, Charlotte got a job at Wardle & Co. where her brother was working at the time. She became skilled at tube lining which is a process of squeezing a thin line of clay onto a pottery piece being decorated. It is like piping a line of icing on a cake. In this case, the clay is used to outline a design that is then colored in.

Tube Lining Before Painting or Glazing

The process looks like this before it is fired and set. Charlotte became very skilled at this process before she left Wardle and moved to Keeling and Co. in Burslem as an enameler. Her brother had moved to America by this point.

Burleigh Persian Plaque by Charlotte Rhead

She bounced around in the pottery world until she landed at Wood and Sons, where her dad was working and went to work again as a tube liner and also as a designer. She moved on to Burgess and Leigh of Middleport from 1926 to 1931 which is where she did the work for which she is best known. This is one of those works. This plate sold in 2003 for about $3,900 at Christie’s London.

From Burleigh she went to A.G. Richardson; Crown Ducal was their brand name. This occured in the 1930s. She was very prolific for Crown Ducal. Then from 1941 until her death in 1947 she worked at Wood and Sons, again. This all occurred during a time that few women worked. She was a very successful artisan on her own. It does not appear that she ever married.

crhead plate
Charlotte Rhead Bursley Ware Cake Plate circa 1940

Oh, remember her brother that moved to America. He created the Fiestaware line! I am not kidding. Talk about a creative family!

Have a great week.

Looking for some great vintage pottery? Check out my Etsy website Vintage Eve’s.

For another great blog, give the Vintage Vertigo blog a look.