Decorated in a part lustre design with deer by a lake in a wooded landscape, it is monogramed verso and numbered 3440. At Special Auction Services in Newbury on September 6 it was expected to sell for £1000-1500 but brought £4000 (plus 20% buyer’s premium) selling to a UK buyer.
Ada Louise Lessore, known as ‘Lalla’ to her family, was an established artist in her own right before she married the Cotswold School painter and designer Alfred Powell in 1906. She also had deep family connections to Wedgwood. Her grandfather Emile Lessore, an émigré from the Sèvres factory, and her father Jules Lessore, an artist and pottery designer, had both worked in senior roles at the Etruria Works.
At a time when Wedgwood was struggling to meet the challenges of the new century, Louise and Alfred Powell were employed in a freelance capacity to produce contemporary ‘craft’ designs on unglazed pottery blanks. They worked, sometimes in collaboration, from studios in the Arts and Crafts havens of Bloomsbury and the Cotswolds, with finished pots sent to Stoke for glazing and firing. The pair received a fixed sum plus a percentage if the designs were put into more general production.
Not many pieces of Powell decorated Wedgwood have made more at auction than this plaque that came for sale from a bungalow close to the saleroom. It was one of three pieces of Powell Wedgwood from the estate.
In 2014 a bowl painted by Alfred Powell with rooks nesting in a tree sold for £4200 at Woolley & Wallis. It had a provenance to a member of the Gimson family of Cotswolds School fame.