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ENDEARING FREAKS? THE MARTIN BROTHERS' SPOTLIGHT

The National Trust at Standen will be hosting a small exhibition of the works of the Martin Brothers (1873-1923) from 1 August until 13 November 2016.  The exhibition aims to open up a debate on the suggestion that the Martins Brothers were pioneers in the development of British studio pottery.

The eccentric and quirky pottery of the incomparable quartet from London has drawn compliments, commendations and criticism from art lovers, antiques experts and collectors alike.

Wally Bird by Martin Brothers

Martin Brothers' Wally Bird (Photo Courtesy of the National Trust)

With their fearless approach to the art of pottery, the Martin Brothers have made an inimitable mark on the world of antiques.

Martin Brothers Face Jug

Martin Brothers' Face Jug (Photo courtesy of the National Trust)

Featuring large scale recognisable works and smaller, rarely seen items with curious finishes and glazes, the exhibition will both capture and examine the Martin Brothers innovative practices and bold experimentation. Visitors will be asked to respond to the works of art by stacking comments on boards above a salvaged potter's wheel, as well as being invited to enter a theatrically lit display of 'Wally birds'.

Wally Bird by Martin Brothers

Martin Brothers' Wally Bird from Knightshayes (Photo Courtesy of Andreas Von Einsiedel)

The exhibition items are compiled from collections and loans from institutions such as the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, Holburne Museum in Bath and the National Trust at Blicking Hall and Greenway.

Standen, an exquisite late C19th house designed by architect Philip Webb, a lifelong friend of William Morris, makes a fine backdrop for the exhibition with its own historic collection of art pottery and Morris & Co. furnishings.

House Manager, Ben Dale, says: “The sense of mystery, menace and intrigue is unmistakable. This exhibition celebrates the work of these remarkable craftsmen, looks at what influenced and inspired them and their impact on the development of Art Pottery.”

Martin Brothers Crab Vase

Martin Brothers' Crab Vase (Photo Courtesy of the National Trust)

The exhibition will be opened by David Battie of the Antiques Roadshow, who comments: “After six months as a porter in the ceramics department at Sotheby’s, I still hated pots. Then in came a Martin Brothers Bird jar - and I was a convert.”

'Endearing Freaks? The Martin Brothers Potters' will be held at the National Trust’s Standen House and Garden, 1 August – 13 November 2016. For more information, visit The National Trust at Standen.