Welcome to the first of a multi-part overview of the wonderful porcelain floral studies created by the Connoisseur of Malvern studio founded by Diane Lewis in 1979 in Worcestershire, the ‘mecca’ of fine English porcelain and china. This fascinating story will be more fully explored in the upcoming Archive category titled The Diane Lewis Legacy, but first let us begin to explore some of the amazing art that she created.
Most of the sculptures illustrated below were designed by Diane Lewis, and her name appears on those backstamps (see Authentic Connoisseur Backstamps for the various iterations). Other talented designers at Connoisseur are likewise identified as indicated. All of the following studies were produced during the 1980s. Any missing information – such as the designer’s name, the issue year, edition size, etc. – is continually researched and updated as found. The studies below are arranged in alphabetical order.
Almond Blossom by Diane Lewis is a non-limited edition issued in 1984; it is 4.75″ (12 cm) high and was part of the English Countryside series. Introduction price is unknown but it retailed for $295 in 1987.
Azalea Blossom was produced in three color versions. It is approximately 5” (12.5 cm) high and was a non-limited edition in 1983. This study was part of the Garden Blossoms series by Diane Lewis. The initial price for all three colorways was $225, but by 1987 the white version retailed for $270 while the red and yellow were both $290.
Peony by Diane Lewis was an issue of 100 in 1983. Selling for $850, it was among the first of several peony studies by Connoisseur of Malvern. It stands 11″ (28 cm) high.
Peony ‘Oriental Silk’ by Diane Lewis. This was issued in 1986 as an edition of 100 at $975. This study is 5.75″ (14.5 cm) high and 14″ wide.
Periwinkle, a non-limited edition approximately 5” (12.5 cm) high from 1982 at $250, is another study within the English Countryside series by Diane Lewis. Retail pricing rose to $315 within five years.
Quince Blossom, circa 1983 by Diane Lewis, is part of the Garden Blossoms series. It is approximately 4.5” (11.5 cm) high and was issued at $225, later $290 within five years. This represents the ornamental (Chaenomeles) species, often called ‘Japanese quince.’ (Note: Although this study appears to be golden yellow in Connoisseur’s advertising photographs, the actual color is indeed a light orange. This particular color can appear differently according to the lighting conditions; strong bright light mutes the orange tones and brings out the yellows. Only one colorway of Quince Blossom was produced.)
The Rocky Mountain Iris was part of the International Wildflowers series by Diane Lewis, issued at $375 and standing about 6″ (15.25 cm) high. The species depicted is Iris missouriensis which is the only USA native iris species that is also found east of the Cascade Mountains/Sierra Nevada. The flower color ranges from a pale lavender-blue to a fairly intense purple-blue; another common name is “blue flag iris”. In photographs some of these appear more purple and others appear more mauve as in the second image; the difference may simply be a result of the photo lighting, as is the case with the Quince Blossom.
Silent Eloquence is a stunning 1989 orchid group by Diane Lewis. The white orchid is a cattleya; the striated flowers are phalaenopsis. Only 50 of these were made. It is 12.5” (31.75 cm) high, and its USA retail price at introduction in 1989 was $3695.
Delicate pristine white Snowdrops are always a most welcome sight at the end of every winter! A non-limited edition approximately 5” (12 cm) high, this was part of Diane Lewis’ English Countryside series in 1980. Issue price was $200 which rose to $225 before retirement.
Valley Stream, designed by Aileen Burton and issued in 1988, includes sweet white violets, clover blossoms, and Convallaria (lily-of-the-valley.) Four other designs within this same series can be seen in Flowers, Part Six.
The gorgeous Diane Lewis Buddleia with Peacock Butterflies was created in 1984 as an edition of only 10 sculptures priced at $2150. It is only 9″ tall (about 23 cm) but is 11″ (28 cm) wide and 14″ (35.5 cm) deep. Feeding on the flowers is the aptly-named Peacock Butterfly, Inachis io.
Wild Columbine by Diane Lewis was another member of the non-limited edition mid-1980s International Wildflower Collection, at $375. Standing 6″ (15.25cm) high, it complements the Blue Columbine shown in the Connoisseur Flowers Part 2 post.
Wild Daffodils, by Diane Lewis, a non-limited edition standing 6″ high (15.25 cm). It too was part of the English Countryside series and dates from 1983. Retail pricing ranged from $250 to $315 before retirement.
Images of ©Connoisseur of Malvern porcelain sculptures are provided for informational and educational purposes only, not for reproduction, resale or advertising. All photographs are copyrighted by their owner (where known) as indicated via watermark.