What better time than midsummer to begin our stroll through the ‘rose garden’ created by the Connoisseur of Malvern artists? They are shown below in alphabetical order by name. I’ve tried to also include a bit of information about the actual rose that inspired some of the sculptures.
Rose sculptures that bear a Diane Lewis Chance or D by D backstamp are included in Diane Lewis Chance Sculptures. In addition, Fleur Cowles Designs for Connoisseur of Malvern also includes several roses.
Bing Crosby rose, a limited edition of 200 by Diane Lewis introduced in 1981 at $650. I’m uncertain about the correct height, because one seller cited it as 4.5” and another as 6”. The actual Bing Crosby rose was registered in 1981. This rose study was released to considerable fanfare in the United States; the Asbury Park Press newspaper carried this news item on Nov. 22, 1981, in regard to the gala event held at Brielle Galleries the night before:
Kathryn Crosby, wearing a red silk chiffon dress to match the color of the porcelain Bing Crosby rose, was guest of honor last night at a gala dinner dance held at the Beacon Manor. The formal event inaugurated a weekend celebration of the presentation of the Bing Crosby Rose in porcelain, and honored artisans of the fine porcelain studio Connoisseur of Malvern which created the sculpture. Ira Jacobson, owner of Brielle Galleries, was host of last night’s Hollywood-style gala for 220 invited guests. To dine with the artists of Connoisseur of Malvern, guests had paid $650 each for the porcelain Bing Crosby Rose.
Champion rose, 1986, 5″ h (12.5 cm). An issue of 200 sculpted by Diane Lewis; named after the jockey Bob Champion, winner of the 1981 Grand National. ‘Champion’ is an exceptionally large flowered hybrid tea.
The Chicago Peace centrepiece from 1990, by Aileen Burton, was a limited issue of 50; height is unknown. The ‘Chicago Peace’ rose is a color variant of the classic ‘Peace’ rose. It was introduced to the rose trade in 1962.
Clarissa rose, 1983, 4.5″ h (11.5 cm), a limited edition of 100 by Diane Lewis. ‘Clarissa’ is a miniature rose, bred in 1982 by Harkness in the UK. Connoisseur created this lovely representation only a year later and priced it at $375. The hybrid is named after Clarissa Mason, wife of actor James Mason. There is also a clematis hybrid (‘Mrs. James Mason’) named after her.
Four Red Roses, 12″ h (30.5 cm), edition of 25, issue year and artist unknown. Part of the backstamp includes the handwritten lines: “Their lips were four red roses on a stalk which in their summer beauty kissed each other” – from Richard III, Act 4, Scene 3 (Tyrrel, describing the princes in the Tower before their murder)
Ice Ginger , 1988, 14” h (35.5 cm), an edition of 50 by Diane Lewis. A 1989 price list shows its USA retail as $3695. Some sources have shown the name as “Iced” Ginger but it is “Ice Ginger” on the backstamp.
July Morning basket, sculpted by Diane Lewis, to commemorate the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. Only 50 of these were made. Retail pricing was $2000 during the mid-1980s. Similar in size to the Dawn Haze basket, it is 8″ (20.25 cm) high and about 10″ (25.5 cm) wide and deep. I couldn’t resist adding a detail image of the butterfly which is the aptly-named Peacock, Aglais io.
The white Lady Diana rose was also a 1981 marriage-commemorative issue. This was a limited issue of 100. It is 4.75″ h x 8″ w (about 12cm x 20cm) and sold for $650 during the mid-1980s.
Madame Butterfly is 4.5” high (11.5 cm). This edition of 50 was issued in 1984 at $650 and rose to $755 within only a few years. The actual ‘Madame Butterfly’ is a vintage rose from 1918. It is listed as a shrub rose but there is also a rose named ‘Madame Butterfly Climbing’ which supposedly is a sport of ‘Ophelia.’
Mary Rose from 1984 by Diane Lewis, in an edition of 100 at $650 which rose quickly to $755. It is 7″ (17.75 cm) high and wide. This rose is a David Austin hybrid which was named after the Mary Rose, the pride of King Henry VIII’s fleet; he named the ship after his sister Mary Tudor, who was for a short time Queen of France and later the wife of Henry’s best friend Charles Brandon.
Mountbatten, 1982, 6.25″ h (approx 16 cm), an edition of 100 by Diane Lewis, priced at $650. This rose was originally named to honor Lord Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India, with whom its hybridizer Jack Harkness served in the miltary. Its full registered name is ‘Lord Mountbatten’.
My Love (full blown red rose with single bud), as a limited edition of 100 for $850 in 1982. It is 9″ (23cm)H igh. Connoisseur also produced My Love in a single-bud version nonlimited edition which will be shown in a separate post. I have been unable to find information about any real rose named ‘My Love’, so perhaps the rosarians amongst my readers can assist with that!
Peace Rose (not the centrepiece) 8″ h (20.25 cm), from 1985 in an edition of 100 at $775. The famous ‘Peace’ rose was first created in 1935 in France, but at that time was simply tagged as #3-35-40. In 1942 it was introduced to the trade in three different countries (France, Germany and Italy) under three different names (Mme. A. Meilland, Gloria Dei, and Gioia, respectively). A “slip” of a French bush was smuggled out of that country just before the German occupation and was subsequently introduced in 1945 by the Conrad Pyle Company (USA) as ‘Peace’.
Precious Platinum rose, 1986 by Diane Lewis, 5.25″ h (~13 cm), in a limited edition of 100 for $775. Despite its name (registered in 1974 by Patrick Dickson of Northern Ireland) this is a rich deep red rose; it is known for blooming literally “top to bottom”.
Queen Elizabeth, 1983; edition of 100 by Diane Lewis. Approximately 5.5” (14 cm) high, and about 6″ (15.25 cm) wide and deep. This was the first of two different Queen Elizabeth roses issued by Connoisseur. It was $525 at introduction and rose to $630 within two years.
Rose of York Bud by Diane Lewis; an open edition, about 3″ high and 7″ long (7.5 cm x 17.75 cm) from the mid 1980s. There is an accompanying limited edition rose as well, which will be seen in a subsequent Roses post.
Sarah rose, by Diane Lewis. Created to commemorate the marriage of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson on July 23, 1986. The backstamp on this piece reads “Connoisseur Ltd, Ledbury”… the only one I have seen thus far with such a backstamp designation. This was an edition of 250 that sold for $375; it is a small study, at 3.25″ (about 9 cm) high.
Sonia from 1985, an issue of 100 by Diane Lewis which is 5” h x 6” long (approx 12 x 15 cm). Issue price was $410. Another French rose hybrid by Meilland, from 1974, this is a compact-growing grandiflora about three to four feet tall.
Summer Princess, an edition of 100 by Aileen Burton, 6” h (15.25 cm) at $825. The backstamp reads: ‘To commemorate the Marriage of The Prince Andrew & Miss Sarah Ferguson 23rd July 1986’ and also has the Prince’s cypher of a capital ‘A’ surmounted by a crown. However, I’m very curious about why it was not the combined royal monogram cypher that intertwines the A with the S!
Summer Star, 1987, an edition of 100 by Diane Lewis. Height is unknown. Although there is a rose registered with the name ‘Summer Star’, that is a solid yellow cultivar; the name of this sculpture no doubt refers to the starry white jasmine flowers.
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