Continuing the retrospective of Connoisseur birds begun in Part One, we have yet more wonderful avian studies by Christopher Ashenden.
This romatic sculpture of a pair of white doves, entitled Love’s Majesty, commemorates the marriage of Charles, Prince of Wales to Lady Diana Spencer on July 29, 1981. It is a limited edition of 25 from that year (1981) and is 14” high (35.5 cm). Retail pricing was $5500 during the mid 1980s. The roses shown on the sculpture are the famous ‘Peace’.
Fantail doves are also portrayed in Peace On Earth. Twenty inches (about 51 cm) high and 26″ (66 cm) wide, this was a limited edition of only 25 sculptures in 1982. Its retail price rose to $4750 in 1985, and again to $5275 by 1987.
Chris Ashenden always does a fantastic job with raptors, and his Peregrine Falcon is no exception. A 1983 limited edition of 25, it stands almost 19” high and has a 30” wingspan (48 cm, 76 cm). See Birds Part One for photos of his Gyrfalcon and Kestrel.
The Fledgling Wren is from the same open edition series as the Fledgling Blue Tit shown in Part One. In fact it was issued in the same year (1981) and at the same $125 pricepoint which increased to $175.
This is the Fledgling Robin from that same series, although this was issued in 1982. It measures 3.5” tall and 5” wide (about 9 cm x 12.5 cm). Retail pricing was slightly higher than the previous two fledglings, being $175 at introduction and $225 by 1987.
A very limited edition (only 10 made) sculpture is Finches in Unison. Released in 1983, it is about 22” high (56 cm) and sold for $5500. The birds shown are Zebra Finches and the flower is a peony.
Goldfinches with Plum Blossom dates from 1987 and is a limited edition of 50, approximately 13” high (33 cm). The bird represented is the European goldfinch, Carduelis carduelis.
Another of my very favorite birds, the diminutive Saw-whet Owl is captured in mid-flight as a limited edition of 50 sculptures. This piece is 14” high and displays a wealth of detail (35.5 cm). This fellow fetched $2400 at retail galleries in 1989.
The friendly British robin is again captured by Connoisseur with Robin in Springtime, an edition of 100 in 1986 for $725. Size is just about 6.75” high (17 cm).
Its counterpart across The Pond was not neglected; two years later, in 1988, the American Robin with Oak was released as an open edition. He is 5.25” high and about 7” wide (13cm x 17.75 cm). The second photo also shows the female colorway in the foreground.
Willow Warblers with Forsythia was a limited edition of 25 in 1984, for a retail price of $1950. This beautifully delicate study is 11.5″ (29cm) high, and 10″ (25.5 cm) wide and deep.
Another limited edition songbird-and-blooms pairing was Coal Tit on Crab Apple, from 1985. An edition of 50 at $1825, it is 12.5″ (31.75 cm) high and 10″ (25.5 cm) wide at the upper portion.
First Kiss portrays a trio of Ruby-throated hummingbirds feeding from a pink fuchsia in marvelous detail. One almost expects the birds to take flight at any moment! It measures 16.5” high and 13” wide (42 cm x 33 cm). A limited edition of 50 in 1986, it sold for $3250 at introduction.
The Chickadee Family was created for Neiman-Marcus as a limited edition offering of 25 pieces. It measures 7.75” high and 11.5” wide (19.5 cm x 29 cm). The backstamp identifies it as a store exclusive.
The beloved British robin is charmingly portrayed by Gardener’s Friend, a limited edition of 100 sculptures. Issue year is unknown but it appears with a $1200 retail price on an undated but mid-1980s retail price list from a Connoisseur stockist.
Not every Connoisseur bird was sculpted by Chris Ashenden; the artist who created the Golden Oriental Pheasant was Richard Roberts. An edition of 50 in 1986, it is 18″ (45.75 cm) wide and 8″ (about 20 cm) high on its cherry wood base.
Richard Sefton, who was best known for his equine and human portraits, sculpted this 19” (48 cm) tall, limited edition Toucan. On a 1989 Connoisseur price list for USA retailers, this piece was priced at $9500. Native to the southern Americas and Mexico, toucans are distantly related to woodpeckers – easy to believe, given the size of their bills! However, although toucans do nest in trees they do not use their bills to make holes; despite its ponderous appearance the toucan’s bill is very lightweight. These birds instead use nesting cavities previously made by other birds or forest creatures.
Images of ©Connoisseur of Malvern porcelain sculptures are provided for informational and educational purposes only. The individual photographs are copyrighted by their owner as indicated via watermark.