Hockey on Ice'

Large Significant Hand Painted Ceramic Sporting Panel
Robert John Abraham for Copeland Spode
Signed With The initials 'RJA' and Incised With The WTC Copeland Monogram
English, c1878
31.5” high x 25.5” wide

On a frozen river two men appear to be ‘bullying off’ in the foreground while other players wait expectantly, somewhat formally dressed against the cold and each with simple skates strapped to their shoes. One from a set of twelve recently rediscovered documentary sporting panels.

Detailed research within the Copeland Spode archives and consultation with ceramic historians and technicians reveals that these important hand painted panels or ‘slabs’ are probably the largest known examples of this kind of ceramic art from their day.

Each single earthenware panel (made from the finest Cornish China Clay) would have been produced in a mould and fired and glazed a number of times. Their scale, the quality of the painting, and the vivid clarity of the cobalt blue establish them as a remarkable artistic and technical achievement for any era.

The dimensions of each of the panels are approximately 31 ¾” (80cm) high x 25 ¾” (65cm) wide. They are individually painted by two of Copeland’s greatest artists, Robert John Abraham (1850-1925) and Lucien Besche (d.1901) and depict the following sports: Ice Hockey, Shot Put, Cricket, Running, Football, Polo, Tent Pegging, Fly Fishing, Hunting, Hare Coursing, Shooting and Stalking, seven of which are or have been Olympic sports.

English c. 1878

31.5” high x 25.5” wide

Provenance: The Collection was commissioned by Thomas Russell from Copeland Spode, for Cleveden House, Kelvinside, Glasgow, (designed and built by John Gordon in 1877) and Hand Painted by Robert John Abraham (1850-1925) and Lucien Besche (d.1901) in 1878.

Collections: Archive