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Wash Basin
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Title: Wash Basin
Identifier: 2006.6.1
Donor: Ruth Denyer
Item Date: 1920-1930
Creation Date: 2011
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A hand painted round ceramic wash basin. The rim is narrow (approx. 1.3 cm) painted in a bluish green band. The inner side surface is painted with five large pink/red cabbage roses, each with several dark green leaves and brown, thorned branches. The inner bottom is undecorated, white. The outer side surface is similarly decorated with six large roses, leaves and branches. The base rim is painted a very narrow (0.3 cm) bluish green band. The outside bottom is stamped in black ink within an oval border "T. GOODE & CO SOUTH AUDLEY ST LONDON W". Also on the bottom impressed in an arch shape is "Wemyss Ware" and below the arch "RH&S". Part of a set with a pitcher.

Thomas Goode & Co., South Audley Street, London first opened for business in 1827. Since then the company has continued to design and manufacture bespoke fine bone china and has three warrants to supply the Royal Family.

Wemyss (pronounced weems) Ware was first produced by the pottery of Robert Heron & Son Kircaldy, Fife, Scotland from 1882-1930. Seeking a new look for his wares after a trip around Europe, Robert Heron decided to employ a group of Bohemian Artists. One of these was Karel Nekola who became artistic director and developed a range of decorative motifs and colour schemes that were used until 1930 when the factory closed down due to the Depression and changing tastes. Wemyss Ware utilized a secret technique of under-glaze painting - especially in a cabbage rose pattern. The quality of the painting is one of the hall-marks of Wemyss Ware. The underglaze technique used, with the design painted directly onto the biscuit-fired pottery gave the artist much greater freedom and allowed more subtle effects than the more common over-glaze method. One consequence of this technique was that, in order to preserve the colours, the glaze had to be fired at a relatively low temperature, which means that over time it almost always crazes.www.wemyss-ware.net.

This item belonged to author Mazo de la Roche and was part of her estate that was auctioned off by Ward & Price Auctioneers in the late 1960s. The donor's brother-in-law worked for this auction house and when the basin set didn't sell, he kept it and later gave it to his brother.

In 1927, Mazo de la Roche's (1879-1961) novel "Jalna" won the $10,000 first prize in a competition sponsored by Atlantic Monthly, this win led to the publishing of a series of novels about the Whiteoaks family of Jalna. The Jalna series was exceedingly popular, selling thousands of copies, with "Jalna" being turned into a movie and a television series. Mazo lived in Trail Cottage, which was located on property that had originally belonged to the Benares Estate. Mazo was friends with the Harrises and had visited Benares on several occasions. It has been speculated that the Benares House was Mazo's inspiration for her fictional Whitoaks family.
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