When I wrote my first post about Connoisseur of Malvern on my circa-2014 Tumblr blog, my intention was simply to share my appreciation of their beauty with others who may not have encountered these beautiful sculptures. What I didn’t fully realize was that although Connoisseur had a definite presence in the UK, they are virtually unknown to USA porcelain art collectors. This shouldn’t be surprising; their distribution here was limited to a small coterie of high-end retailers, most of whom were individual galleries also offering wares such as Flora Danica tableware and Baccarat crystal. Even Cybis porcelain — which was hardly a household word in those days! — had a larger dealer network in the USA than did Connoisseur.
Compounding the visibility problem is the fact that there has been no comprehensive “one-stop” online archive of the sculptures that Connoisseur produced. Such a permanent database would also be helpful to those who have acquired a sculpture and need information in order to offer it for sale, or who simply want to know more about the piece or the studio. Unfortunately, a sculpture may appear on an internet auction site for a week or a month, and then disappear from sight forever. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, I thought, if there was a permanent pictorial reference source, as if visiting an online museum? And thus the idea of establishing such a site was born.
The porcelain studies are grouped according to genre, with cross-referencing to related posts as needed. Each post contains a link to the continuously-updated alphabetical name index which lists each sculpture referenced in any way on this site. There is also a list by introduction year, but with the caveat that it is very much less complete than the Index because so many of the issue years are not on the backstamps, and surviving pieces of Connoisseur literature are hard to find.
This is by nature an ongoing project, as more images of Connoisseur sculptures come to light over time and as additional information about them is discovered. Much of the content of this Archive originally appeared on my associated blog (The Chatsworth Lady) before this site was established, and I sincerely thank all the readers who have contributed additional photos and information to “The Connoisseur of Malvern Project”. That site eventually came to the notice of Mr. Martyn Lewis who is the son of the incredibly talented artist and founder of the Connoisseur studio, Diane M. Lewis. His kind assistance continues to be instrumental in the establishment and growth of this online archive and tribute to her legacy.
I hope that readers who may have information about, or photographs of, Connoisseur of Malvern sculptures not already described here will consider contributing to this knowledge base; it will be much appreciated, and of course fully credited. Please use the Direct Contact Form below for this purpose; your email address will not appear on this site and will never be shared.
But most of all, I hope that everyone who visits this site will enjoy the beauty that was so exquisitely captured in porcelain by the artists of Connoisseur of Malvern!
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