Monday, December 15, 2014

Something To Crow About

I woke up yesterday morning with no intention of going out. Insomnia and a crummy Saturday had set my mood. My husband wanted us to go to our favorite Indian Sunday brunch, and meet a couple old friends. I trudged through my morning animal chores, grumbled as I dressed, but all at top speed. We'd inadvertently slept in, and people were waiting for us.

We had a nice brunch visit with them, also collectors of various ilk. I even had time to sketch and email some projects to a client, while I nibbled kheer and gulab jamun. That sentence right there is my heaven on earth, my favorite combination of things to do! 

It was such a sunny day, we decided to extend our morning in town. We headed for the art supply store, which happens to be located next door to a vintage-and-antiques mall. While my husband gathered some supplies, I took a stroll through the mall, curious but expecting nothing. This mall is well known to all local chinaheads and Tikiphiles, and it is thoroughly (and weekly) combed by the same. These days, I never expect to find anything that fits my collecting focus; it's just not a statistic likelihood. I was mostly looking for Christmas gifts for friends. Where are all the Poodles?!

Almost halfway through the mall, a figure at eye level shouted out to me. Collectors, you know what I mean! It was very shocking, almost dream-like, because there is only one known example. The one known example lives in my collection, at home. This was a completely different glaze finish, and it was slip-stuck to a functional item!

"I know you! What are you doing here?"

Photo taken "in the wild".

As it sat there on the shelf, it appeared to be a lid mismatched to the casserole dish beneath it. It was set at a jaunty, somewhat risky angle, so I took a photo, put down my camera/phone, and then lifted it off with both hands. Here is the tag description:

My mind began to sort out the similarities to other non-HR Love ware, by the production value and colors. There are several Maureen Love molds that were not produced by Hagen-Renaker, but are known from her sketchbooks and single examples in her personal estate. She even mentioned having freelanced for Twin Wintons and others*, and a recorded interview identifies the owner of another pottery: Bill Lenaburg. Some people call these the Mystery molds, but this blog has deduced that the factories that produced some of them were Marcia of California and Lane and Company Ceramics.

This is the previously only known-to-the-hobby example, a gift from Margo Potheau, just about a year ago.

He was not produced by Hagen-Renaker, and it was assumed by most of us that it was a piece Maureen designed and cast in stoneware for her own collection.

After this random antiques mall find, I am happy to report that you, too, can own an OF version of this charming Love rooster! All you have to do is search Etsy and eBay. It is my best guess that these are Marcia of California, as the glazes are found on other MC functional ware. These plate molds show two of several ways that MC marked their molds. The round plate was also used with a non-Love rooster accent, and was the top of a lazy susan egg dish.

Pretty sure this will make my chicken-collecting pals very happy! Who knows, maybe your grandmother's egg dish had a bit of Love in it, all along?

This white OF piece had a rough time in greenware.
Either crude casting or cleaning reduced some of his beak, hackle/cape, and the blade of his comb.
I have already seen much better examples, online.

The variations I have found in just a brief search are:

four-points leaf egg plate, marked with mold number 515 and Calif. USA (typical for MC)

round egg plate, no marks (also well known for MC ware)

Two different colors of green glaze!
Mold number 515 refers to the plate mold, not the rooster mold. 
The rooster mold number is unknown.

I have found these colors:

solid dark green leaf plate with white rooster

solid white plate & rooster

squash orange with white rooster

Some have a little streaking in the glaze where the rooster's white glaze ran down into the color glaze of the plate. Values online are under $30 for these plates. The Love rooster is the same mold for each. Like the Marcia/Lane Love Horses and Bull, the rooster's greenware cleaning and mold crispness varies.

< Crispy Chicken                  Soft Chicken >

Although the plate molds are also found with more upright-posed roosters, sculpted by someone else, the base where Maureen's rooster is attached appears custom-fit for both plate molds. Maybe the company gave Maureen a footprint outline, in which to sculpt the figure? Which came first, the chicken or the egg plate?

It's very interesting is that this Rooster and the Fighting Bull both are done in Maureen's Cubist style, and both were represented in her estate by single examples, custom glazed by Maureen. It fits that they both turned up in OF Marcia/Lane production.

This find feels like another gift from Margo, and the timing gives me goosebumps. I am keeping my promise to identify and share Maureen's work with as many people as I can, with the help of the internet.

Collector friends, you are thus challenged: 
What other "only one known" Love pieces may have been produced by other manufacturers? Let's find them!


*Kelly, Nancy. Horse, Bird, and Wildlife Figures of Maureen Love: Hagen-Renaker and Beyond. Page 8. Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.: Atglen, PA, 2003.

Online sources linked throughout post.

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