A Group of Six Martin Brothers Miniature Vases
A Group of Six Martin Brothers Miniature Vases
A Group of Six Martin Brothers Miniature Vases
A Group of Six Martin Brothers Miniature Vases

EDWIN & WALTER MARTIN (worked 1873-1923)

A Group of Six Martin Brothers Miniature Vases

c. 1907 United Kingdom

Offered by E & H Manners

£8,500 gbp
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Height: 3.1-7.9cm

All individually modelled after naturalistic forms.

Edwin Martin, the youngest of the Martin brothers, first started making small vases early on in the production of the factory after they found out that the kiln fired more evenly when it was full. He used the opportunity to practice his craft, however they were not considered to carry much value, and his older brother Charles kept them in the drawers of their shop, only producing them when a visitor was escaping without having made a purchase.

Through making these small vases Edwin Martin acquired the widest knowledge of all the processes involved with the manufacture of their pottery, despite not having received any formal training. This lack of formal training meant his creative development was not influenced by any current conventions and allowed him to develop his own innovative style that tended towards the naturalistic.

This group of vases comes from the collection of Sidney Greenslade, who was a key figure in the development of Edwin Martin as an artist. Greenslade writes:

'When EDM [Edwin] first saw my little lot together [circa 1901], he wept and his sensitiveness was astounding; the fact that these small efforts of his would be gathered together for intense appreciation was a new sensation for him… Had he not worked early and late, until over 30 nearly as the boy at the Pottery! Mixing Clays, turning the wheel for Walter! Decorating under Willy! Perhaps ‘etching’ in and pencilling others’ designs! Cooking the meals – breakfast, dinner, tea… So now the awakening'

Greenslade first met the Martins in 1898 when Edwin was nearly 31 years old, and they quickly became close. In the same year Greenslade took Edwin to an exhibition of French Art Pottery at the Guildhall, and continued to expose him to the French potters of the time by taking the Martins to the Exposition Universale in Paris in 1900. They surprised at the prices the French potters were charging and considered their own work to be of comparable or higher quality, so it would be untrue to say that the French potters such as Delaherche, Bigot and Lachenal had a large influence on Edwin’s style.

It is clear however that Greenslade did have a great influence on Edwin’s development as is shown in the letters between them sharing sketches and ideas over the next fifteen years up until Edwin’s death in 1915. They often made visits together to Kew Gardens, the Natural History Museum and the Regent’s Park Zoo where Edwin would take photographs from which he developed his naturalistic abstractions.

Please get in touch if you would like further information on any of the individual items.
Two small chips to the glaze on the rim of the taller leopard spotted vase
Purchased directly from the Martin Brothers by Sidney Greenslade

Inherited by the Reverend William Henry Spottiswood Webb, Greenslade’s executor, thence by decent
The Martin Brothers Potters by Malcolm Haslam, pp 113-162
Stock Code
5050
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E & H Manners

E & H Manners
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