Charles Vyse

Charles Vyse, born in Staffordshire in 1882, is considered to be one of the key figures in the development of British studio pottery. He was apprenticed to Doulton at the age of fourteen as a modeller and designer. His work at Doulton was very successful, and he was responsible for many of their popular models. While attending Hanley Art School he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art where he studied sculpture from 1905 to 1910. The following year he was elected as a member of the Royal Society of Sculptors. In 1912 he studied at the Camberwell School of Art.

With his wife, Nell, he set up a studio at Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, in 1919 and the couple produced figures based on characters seen on the streets of London. These slip cast models were popular and a small staff of women was employed to make them.

Vyse developed an interest in Chinese Sung pottery, and using the extensive collection of his neighbour, George Eumorfopoulos, as a reference started to make pots in the Sung style. Nell was an expert in the chemistry of ceramics and provided the know-how for Charles to reproduce the chun, celadon, tenmoku and t'zu chou glazes for these stoneware pots. Vyse exhibited annually at Walker's Gallery in Bond Street where many of his pots were sold.

The Cheyne Walk studio was badly damaged in the blitz in 1940 and Charles took up a teaching position at Farnham School of Art. After the war, he recommenced production of the character figures with Barbara Waller, a student from Farnham. The annual exhibitions at Walker's resumed in 1950 and continued until 1963 when he retired. Vyse died in 1971.

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