Alfred William FINCH
( 1854 - 1930 )
Souvenir of the Iris workshops, ca. 1900
- IRIS, Finland -
Height: 21,5 cm
Width: 14 cm
Ø Neck: 12 cm
Signed and annotated under the base: 'A.W.F / IRIS / Finland'
Thorsten Bolinder (1867-1903)
(Accountant to the Iris factory under count Louis Sparre);
His daughter, Ida Elli Marika Bolinder;
Her son, Prof. Dr. Herrick Baltscheffsky, Stockholm
Finch's endeavours to revive traditional Finnish pottery were guided by a complete acceptance of the traditional techniques, local ingredients and typical colour schemes, as the basis from which to build a modern vision. In order to create the present publicity souvenir, which was clearly meant to highlight the healthy vision on modernity which the IRIS workshops stood for, it is evident the artist would employ the most traditional techniques he could find. The designs on the present vase were scratched directly into a top layer in a faint green engobe, revealing as such the local red clay and assuming the typical green/red combination of traditional Finnish utility wares. While this is in principal a text-book sgraffito technique, it involved less radical cuts than the ones Finch used on some of his own ceramics. The whole was sealed off (inside and out) with a clear glaze; a technique which was cheap, time-saving and typical for ceramics that needed particular durability. On the front we see a highly stylised flower which represented the modern direction the company had taken. On the other side, a detailed panorama of the picturesque city of Porvoo was etched, complete with the coat of arms of IRIS's home town. While this version has a provenance that goes back to the accountant running the IRIS factory under count Louis Sparre, an exact same version is also held in the Designmuseo, Helsinki, inv. 10648.