Poster for the Yorkville Martin Brothers exhibition from 1980.

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I was a partner in MacMillan & Perrin Gallery in Granville Street, Vancouver. Back in 1980 we held an exhibition of Martinware which comprised 46 birds, 83 ‘grotesques’ and approximately 150 pots.

I enclose our Yorkville Exhibition poster (see above).

Included with the birds was the only one not modelled by Robert Wallace Martin, but rather by Charles; the largest bird ever produced by Robert Wallace (used on the cover of The Martin Brothers, Potters by Malcolm Haslam and Richard Dennis) and many groups of two and three birds.

Twenty-six of the birds were bought in the 1970s by US collectors Ed Judd and Allen Harriman, along with numerous pots. A similar amount was acquired by someone who I believe eventually held a much later exhibition in 1995, to which Roland gives greater prominence than ours.

Also included in our exhibition were many design books owned by Robert Wallace, the death mask of his daughter who died in childbirth and Robert Wallace’s first exhibition piece at the Royal Academy, A Girl at a Spring.

I find it unusual that an exhibition which formed the basis of two future “landmarks” was completely ignored.

Neil MacMillan


Roland Arkell writes: We’re delighted to add this exhibition to our knowledge of Martinware collecting. We’ve updated our online version of the article to give the Vancouver exhibition its proper place in our knowledge bank on this fascinating and unique collecting niche.