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Mother’s Day

As Mother’s Day approaches on Sunday, May 13, we are looking at how pottery and porcelain artists have expressed the joys of motherhood. In Contentment, a 1920s Royal Doulton figure by Leslie Harradine, he portrays the maternal bond between his wife and their first-born child.

Royal Doulton artists often chose relationships between mother and child as the subject matter for the early HN figure collection. Phoebe Stabler, a London sculptor, was commissioned to provide the first models and her Madonna of the Square was an early best-seller with more than a dozen color variations produced. Stabler shrewdly managed to sell the same designs to rival manufacturers including Royal Worcester and the Poole pottery.

The idealization of London street vendors was a popular theme among sculptors in the early 1900s with several evoking religious paintings of the Madonna and Child. Charles Vyse, who was featured in last month’s Highlights, echoed this fascination with the bohemian lifestyle of street traders and gypsies. His reverential titles include the Madonna of the Racecourse and the Madonna of World’s End Passage, at that time a poor area near his studio in Chelsea. Leslie Harradine was influenced by Vyse’s work and contributed several flower sellers to the Royal Doulton collection. Often they carry their babies in their arms to entreat empathy and more money from customers.

The most traditional Mother’s Day flower is the carnation. Pink carnations represent gratitude and love while red carnations signify admiration. White carnations are worn in remembrance of a mother who is no longer living. Carnations were part of the first American Mother’s Day celebration in 1908, which was organized by social activist Anna Jarvis, now known as the Mother of Mother’s Day. Her campaign to honor mothers led to the first US national Mother’s Day established by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914. Americans now spend approximately $2.6 billion on flowers for Mother’s Day and $1.63 billion on pampering gifts. Perhaps your Mom would enjoy the gift of a WMODA workshop where she can make her own work of art or one of the unique jewelry designs by local artists from the WMODA shop? All sales benefit the educational programs at WMODA.