“In 1901, the Society of Arts scheme was taken over by the London County Council (LCC), which gave much thought to the future design of the plaques. It was eventually decided to keep the basic shape and design of the Society’s plaques, but to make them uniformly blue, with a laurel wreath and the LCC’s title. Though this design was used consistently from 1903 to 1938, some experimentation occurred in the 1920s, and plaques were made in bronze, stone and lead. Shape and colour also varied.In 1921, the most common (blue) plaque design was revised, as it was discovered that glazed Royal Doulton stoneware was cheaper than the encaustic formerly used.”
“Of a series of seven London County Council plaques produced in 1925–6 in the ‘Della Robbia’ style, featuring a colourful raised wreath border, five plaques, manufactured by Doulton, survive.”
“The Della Robbia Pottery was a ceramic factory founded in 1894 in Birkenhead, near Liverpool, England. It closed in 1906. Initially it mostly made large pieces with high artistic aspirations, especially relief panels for architectural use, but also ornamental vessels and plates, intended for display rather than use.
The name was taken from the famous family workshop founded by Luca della Robbia in 15th-century Florence, which specialized in large coloured reliefs installed on walls. Some of the Birkenhead pieces imitated this style closely, while others drew from the more general style of Italian maiolica.
The pottery was established as a true Arts & Crafts pottery on the lines advocated by William Morris, using local labour and raw materials such as local red clay from Moreton, Wirral. The pottery, all earthenware, had lustrous lead glazes and often used patterns of interweaving plants, typical of Art Nouveau, with heraldic and Islamic motifs.
It wares are not to be confused with earlier wares marked “Della Robbia” produced by Charles Canning in Tamworth. These were often smaller items in more conventional Victorian taste, with painting, often floral, sometimes in overglaze enamel, rather than the coloured glazes used in Birkenhead. *In the early 20th century, Roseville pottery, an American pottery company used “Della Robbia” as a brand for wares (now very expensive) designed by Frederick Hurten Rhead, who emigrated from England in 1902. It has been said that these pieces owed more to Birkenhead than Florence. The Birkenhead factory also marked its wares “Della Robbia”, but also used an incised sailing ship as a mark.”
“Luca della Robbia (1399/1400–1482) was an Italian sculptor from Florence. Della Robbia is noted for his colorful, tin-glazed terracotta statuary, a technique which he invented and passed on to his nephew Andrea della Robbia and great-nephews Giovanni della Robbia and Girolamo della Robbia. Though a leading sculptor in stone, he worked primarily in terracotta after developing his technique in the early 1440s. His large workshop produced both cheaper works cast from molds in multiple versions, and more expensive one-off individually modeled pieces.
The vibrant, polychrome glazes made his creations both more durable and expressive. His work is noted for its charm rather than the drama of the work of some of his contemporaries. Two of his famous works are The Nativity (c. 1460) and Madonna and Child (c. 1475). In stone his most famous work is also his first major commission, the choir gallery, Cantoria in the Florence Cathedral (1431–1438).
Della Robbia was praised by his compatriot Leon Battista Alberti for genius comparable to that of the sculptors Donatello and Lorenzo Ghiberti, the architect Filippo Brunelleschi, and the painter Masaccio. By ranking him with contemporary artists of this stature, Alberti reminds us of the interest and strength of Luca’s work in marble and bronze, as well as in the terra-cottas always associated with his name.”