This third group of Connoisseur birds includes several members of the parrot family as well as a selection of British and American songbird species. Among the designers were Christopher Ashenden, Richard Roberts and Richard Sefton.
The Blue and Gold Macaw is another amazing parrot sculpture by Ashenden; it is 28” high (71 cm). Unfortunately I do not have the issue size and price specifications for this study. This bird (Ara ararauna) is also known as the blue-and-yellow macaw. Connoisseur also produced another blue macaw study: the Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) which is shown in Birds, Part One. The hyacinth macaw is entirely blue except for a small area of yellow adjacent to the beak and around the eyes.
ShangriLa also features the blue and gold macaw, this time with white hibiscus instead of orchids. This was an issue of only 5 sculptures in 1982, at a price of $16,500. It’s no surprise that this is quite tall: 31″ (about 79cm) high, and 16″ (40.5cm) wide and deep.
Staying with the macaws for a moment, this is Scarlet Knight depicting the brilliantly colored scarlet macaw, Ara macao. There are two subspecies which are identified by the color (whether blue or green) of certain wing feathers. As expected, this is another tall study at 28″ (71cm) high; it’s also 12.5″ (32cm) wide and about 18″ (45cm) deep. An issue of only 15 pieces in 1989, in 1991 it sold for approximately $7300.
A reader of the Archive kindly sent this photo of his Scarlet Knight most effectively displayed in front of a large mirror so that the amazing detail work on the wings and tail can be easily seen; many thanks!
Although perhaps best known for his equine and human studies, Richard Sefton’s stunning Tropic of Capricorn was designed exclusively for Brielle Galleries in 1980. It depicts an African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) with white cattleya orchids. A small edition of only 10, it was priced at $6250. Dimensions are 13.5″ high, 16″ wide and 14″ deep (approximately 13cm x 41cm x 35.5 cm.)
Next up are several open and limited editions which are part of a series of American bird studies from the mid-1980s. This is the American Goldfinch, Spinus tristis, at just a bit under 8” (20 cm) high. The species name (tristis means ‘sad’) has always puzzled me because I’ve never thought of the goldfinch’s song, behavior or flight pattern as being anything but lively!
The Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) is 6.5″ (16.5cm) high. This is a male; it’s not known whether a female colorway was also produced, as was done with the American Robin (seen in Birds, Part Two) which was also part of this series, as was the brilliant red Cardinal.
The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) is found in the eastern half of the USA during the summer months. Connoisseur portrayed this amazing little bird in both an open and limited edition. The open edition is titled simply Ruby Throated Hummingbird and is 7″ (17.75cm) high. It is shown with a single bloom of honeysuckle.
The limited edition is the Ruby Throated Hummingbird with Trumpet Vine, an edition of 50 and measuring 10” high (25.5 cm). It is shown on their fall/winter 1989 USA price list at $2750.
The Redpoll (Acanthis flammea) is a winter migrant into the northern half of the USA from its spring-autumn ranges in Canada. This 7″ (18cm) high open edition from 1988 has a limited edition counterpart, Redpolls with Apple Blossom, shown in Birds Part Two.
This delightful Chickadee with Holly is an open edition standing 8″ high; it too is from the mid 1980s. Connoisseur produced three other chickadee studies, including one in the Fledglings of North America series and a family group; both of those were Neiman Marcus store exclusives.
There was also a limited edition of 25 titled Chickadee Family with Pink Dogwood, possibly from 1985 because it appears on a text pricelist from that year at $2900.
The next four birds are found in Britain. This is the Great Tit, a limited edition of 100 in 1985 and priced at $975. It is .5″ h (19cm). The flowers are pear blossoms.The tits are close relations of the American chickadee. Although the Great Tit is Parus major and the chickadee is Poecile atricapillus, they are both in the same tit family.
Another limited edition is the Blue Tit on Apple Blossom from 1986. Like the Great Tit this was an edition of 100 retailing for $975. Other Connoisseur blue tit studies are shown in Birds, Part One.
The third known British/European robin by Connoisseur is the Christmas Robin, an open edition 6″ (15.25 cm) high. This study was $375 in 1983 and $425 in 1985. The others were Gardener’s Friend and Robin in Springtime, both shown in Birds, Part Two.
The Eurasian kingfisher, Alcedo atthis, is far more colorful than its American counterpart. Connoisseur’s Kingfisher is a 1987 limited edition of 50, designed by Richard Roberts and measuring 15″ h x 10.5″ w. (38 cm x 26.5 cm). Pricing is unknown at present. Unfortunately the example shown above was noted as having “several broken petals and cracked grass.”
Also by Richard Roberts is the Mandarin Duck. Issued in 1990, this was an edition of 100 priced at $5500 and measuring 13.5″ h x 11″ w. (34.25 cm x 28 cm). This duck, Aix galericulata, is only found in East Asia but it does have a counterpart in the USA: the Wood Duck, Aix sponsa, who is likewise a veritable riot of color. They are the only two birds in the genus Aix.
Siskins with Winter Jasmine, an issue of 50, 13” high (33 cm). The spring 1989 USA price list contains this at $3200. (In some literature this is shown as “Siskins with Jasmine Blossoms.”) The jasmine shown is Gelsemium sempervirens; despite its species name (sempervirens means “evergreen”) it is only hardy in tropical and subtropical climates. These are European siskins (Spinus spinus) rather than the somewhat plainer pine siskin (Spinus pinus) found in North America.
The Portrait of Peace swan was available both as a single adult swan (first photo) or as a group study incorporating the Cygnets which were also available as an open edition piece as shown in Birds Part One. This limited edition was 50 studies in 1988 priced at $6300 for the group; pricing of the single swan is unknown. Height is 11″ (28 cm) but the width is not known. The group study’s base is enlarged in the front to accommodate the addition of the cygnets.
The Jungle Fowl certainly is impressive at 20” tall (50 cm)! This was a limited edition by Chris Ashenden; unfortunately, no year or edition size particulars are available at the moment. I wouldn’t be surprised if the edition size turns out to be either 10 or 25, however.
Dancing Wings can only be described as stunning! This edition of only 10 sculptures was released in 1983 at a price of $6750. It stands 25″ h x 24″ w x 27″ d (63.5cm x 61cm x 68.5cm) on its walnut plinth as shown. These are Red-Crowned Cranes (Grus japonensis) which is also known as the Japanese or Manchurian crane. These are among the largest cranes, standing about 5 ft (about 1.5 meters) tall, and like some other large cranes they engage in an elaborate and graceful courtship dance.
This delightful study, Lovebirds with Quince Blossom, was also captioned in one of Connoisseur’s brochures as “Frolicking Lovebirds.” To add to the confusion, a contemporary retailer’s price list shows it as “Blushing Lovebirds”! I am awaiting a photo of the backstamp of an actual piece in order to confirm its official name. This limited edition of 50 dates from 1989/1990 at an issue price of $3250. It is 10″ (25.5 cm) high and 7″ (17.75cm) wide. The species shown in Connoisseur’s study is the Red-faced (also called Red-headed) Lovebird, Agapornis pullarius; the oft-encountered cage birds are a different species, the Peach-Faced.
This marvelous photo of designer Christopher Ashenden also shows an unfinished Australian Sulphur Crested Cockatoo which was an edition of 50 priced at $2500 when introduced during the 1960s. The smaller model shows the phalaenopsis orchids added.
The completed retail piece is 27″ high and 19″ wide (68.6 cm x 48.25 cm.) This example has multiple damaged areas (crest, wing, flowers, stems) and thus sold for less than $400 at an auction in 2018.
The next two limited edition bird studies are known but I do not have images for them.
The Mockingbird with Magnolia is 16.5″ (42 cm) high and was an edition of 25. It’s possible that it was issued in 1985 because it appears on a text-only price list that year at $3000.
There was also a large 1980s study of three macaws perched atop a large branch or log that I hope to obtain an image of.
Images of Connoisseur of Malvern porcelain sculptures herein are provided for informational and educational purposes only, not for reproduction, resale or advertising. All photographs are copyrighted by their owner as indicated via watermark. Photographs with a Connoisseur watermark originally appeared within their copyrighted publications and appear here via the kind permission of Connoisseur of Malvern, Ltd.