An important and massive Copeland plaque by Charles Ferdinand Hurten, circa 1879
Lot 689
An important and massive Copeland plaque by Charles Ferdinand Hürten, circa 1879
Sold for £11,250 (US$ 18,909) inc. premium
Lot Details
An important and massive Copeland plaque by Charles Ferdinand Hürten, circa 1879
The oval earthenware plaque painted in impasto technique using textured coloured clay beneath a rich glaze, finely painted with a profusion of garden flowers in a vase on a stone ledge, signed C.F.Hürten, 106cm x 89cm


  • This magnificent plaque was made for the Copeland family home, Kibblestone Hall in Staffordshire. It was originally displayed in a purpose-made frame containing gilded corner spandrels of Copeland earthenware. These spandrels, which are included with this lot are stamped COPELAND with the year code for 1879.

    Charles Ferdinand Hürten (1820-1901) studied art in Cologne and settled in Paris from where his fine paintings on porcelain, displayed at the 1858 Paris Exhibition came to the attention of leading English china manufacturers seeking new talent. It took nearly two years for Alderman Copeland to persuade Hürten to move to the Potteries, on the promise of his own studio within the Copeland factory. On the 5th June 1860 an agreement was drawn up between William Taylor Copeland and his son Alfred Copeland and Mr. Charles Ferdinand Hürten, painter on china in Paris. The Copelands initially paid £21 for his family's moving expenses and agreed to pay Hürten an annual salary of £320 for the next five years. He was engaged as a painter of fruits and flowers, to work in the manufactory of china under the superintendence of Mr. Copeland. A similar agreement was drawn up in 1870, when his salary increased to £350 per annum. These wages were far more than were paid to any other artists, for the Copelands realised Charles Ferdinand Hürten had an exceptional talent.

    When he arrived in Stoke-on-Trent Hürten immediately set to work on important vases for the London International Exhibition of 1862. He joined a community of French ceramicists who settled in Stoke and his daughter married Lucien Besche. Besche owned Milton Place where Hürten and his family lived a lavish lifestyle, it is said, ordering hampers from Fortnum and Mason. Hürten's high salary was justified by demand for his plaques and panels, which he painted on a massive scale. To create his best panels Hürten developed his own technique using underglaze colours. He received many special commissions, including a set of panels for the Grand Drawing Room at Chatsworth created for the Duchess of Devonshire. Hürten remained loyal to Copelands, staying at the factory until the late 1890s. His work dominated Copelands' displays at every International exhibition and attracted praise from every jury and critic.

    In 1874 the Art Journal reported... 'Hürten has no superior in flower painting, especially on pieces sufficiently large to give full scope to his vigorous yet delicate pencil; and his perfect feeling for all the beauties of texture and colour in his favourite subjects is sufficiently obvious. He makes us see he is as much a florist as an artist, and as true a student of form and colour.'
  1. John Sandon
    Specialist - British Ceramics
    101 New Bond Street
    London, W1S 1SR
    United Kingdom
    Work +44 20 7468 8244
    FaxFax: +44 20 7468 8252