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Signature and annotation

Alfred William FINCH

( 1854 - 1930 )


Bowl, ca. 1897 (?)

Forges (?) -

Height:        7,5  cm

Ø Width:   19,5  cm 

Ø Base:   19,5  cm

Signed under the flank: 'A-W-F' 

And annotated under the base: '30'

In principle this bowl can be seen both as decorative and as part of Finch's utility ware. The combination of its shape, type of decoration, and the way in which it was glazed, allows for daily use of the object. It could even be argued that, because of the bowl-shape, the design can only be fully viewed or appreciated through the handling and use of the object. Made with his classic ochre and dark brown glaze, we find the inside treated with oxides in order to create a different texture and the shimmering metallic appearance. The sgraffito arabesque around the outer ring and in the central design, are clearly inspired by the floral motives of the Art Nouveau. The peculiar shape of a bowl on a foot, however, was inspired by traditional Japanese bowls, which were designed to be easily lifted off the table or floor with both hands from underneath the bowl itself. As Danielle Derrey-Capon notes, this work is to be seen as part of a group of objects that pose a real problem in what concerns their dating. To her knowledge, Finch first exhibited ceramics with sgraffito decorations at La Libre Esthétique in 1899. Considering the important switch in Finch's production which follows his engagement with the IRIS factory in Finland, it is likely this group is to be regarded as the last series of experiments Finch produced in Belgium before the end of 1897. Focused on his obligations in Finland, Finch did not exhibit outside of his newfound homeland in 1898. It is therefore likely that these works only saw the light of day in 1899, when Henry van de Velde was charged with the delivery of Finch's submissions to La Libre Esthétique and the Munich Sezession. 

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