Standen House Ashbee and Pearson mirror

Another piece sold at the Woolley and Wallis sale in October 2016 was this unmarked copper mirror, 61cm in diameter:

Charles Ashbee mirror executed by John Pearson

Design attributed to Charles Ashbee

This large mirror sold for £4200 plus commission. The catalogue noted that, “An identical mirror can be seen at Standen House where the design is attributed to Charles Robert Ashbee and John Pearson”.

Looking at this caused me to look at the National Trust collection (opens a new tab) which includes a number of stunning John Pearson pieces. However, I have to say, a couple of National Trust attributions do not, to my mind, look much like the typical work of John Pearson, for example the copper pot (opens a new tab) at Standen House and the tile with a galleon at Wightwick Manor which they say is ‘probably’ by John Pearson. This also looks decidedly ‘iffy’ to me!

It would be interesting to see the reason and any designs for the attribution (not that I am doubting it). What struck me, in particular, was that a couple of pieces which came up for sale recently at Mellors and Kirk – a fender and a coalbox – also featured pairs of peacocks like this and were attributed to John Williams at Fivemiletown. The cataloguing also recorded that the most distinctive pices of pairs Fivemiletown work also feature pairs of peacocks (citing Paul Larmour, The Arts & Crafts Movement in Ireland, Belfast 1992, pp 39-44). It seems that, in the earlier years, there was a great deal of cross-fertilisation of ideas, and collaborative working – including joint working between John Pearson and John Williams.