AN Eclectic Collection of characters
Comprised of nearly 100 pieces, this auction includes an intriguing mixture of sculptural objects and pots, most notably a small flock of Robert Wallace Martin’s ‘Wally birds’.
Working in late Victorian-era London, the Martin Brothers are considered to have been pioneers in transforming decorative arts from the stale formalism of the Victorian era to a more whimsical and naturalistic style that foreshadowed the Art Nouveau movement.
While holding appeal to the eclecticism characteristic of Victorian times, many of their sculptures took on disturbing and bewildering forms and personalities. The most celebrated examples can be found among Robert Wallace Martin’s grotesque bird sculptures, which may function as tobacco jars or vases, but are highly stylised to resemble the sometimes deviant human subjects after whom they were modelled.
Eclectic to the core, the Martin Brothers’ work bears the influence of art and architecture from the Middle Ages and Gothic periods, but much of their unique pottery exists in a category of its own. Among recognizable Martinwares, their sculpted ‘face jugs’, gothic stoneware vases and spoon warmers resembling monsters, portrayals of mythical creatures and classical figures, and the use of sea life motifs and other fantasy-imbued images are all very well represented in this collection.
Please be sure to meet all the characters in this extraordinary collection at our preview opening at 12:00 noon on Friday, December 1, at Waddington’s in Toronto.