“Good things come to those that wait” as the famous Guiness advert says. I am delighted to offer for sale this large and beautiful enamel plaque. The plaque depicts a woman in a poppy field with a peacock and poplar tree background. The enamel is very cleverly worked so that key areas only are highlighted with foiling, most notably the poppy flower heads and the peacock tail “eyes”. This plaque was originally offered at Fielding Auctioneers, Stourbridge (lot 844, 24th June 2020), who were disposing of the estate of a member of the Headley family from Bromsgrove.
My research identifying the enameller came too late to buy this plaque, but I have now been able to acquire it privately. This is a rare Bromsgrove Guild of Applied Arts plaque firmly attributed to Ernest Charles Jeffries. The plaque is not signed.
Ernest Charles Jeffries or ECJ (1869-1942) was born into a local Bromsgrove family and studied at Birmingham School of Art. From there he became a teacher at the Bromsgrove School of Art under Walter Gilbert and is listed as a metalworker and enameller for the Bromsgrove Guild of Applied Art from c 1902. It is almost certainly his ECJ monogram on the copper casket sold at the Fieldings auction. Jenny Townshend writes on page 18 of “The Bromsgrove Guild, An Illustrated History”:
“In this same year , the assistant headmaster of the school of art, Ernest Jeffries, began working for the Guild. The Guild bought his designs along with a muffle and a clay body for the muffle, for his use [in enamelling]. Jeffries had been a prize winning student at the Birmingham School of Art and a pupil teacher at the Bromsgrove School of Art. By 1904 he was being paid a regular wage by the Guild.”
See item A725 in the Peartree Collection’s archive for a full discussion on the provenance of this, and other, enamel plaques at Fielding’s auction. Subsequent to the auction one of the plaques was found to be signed ECJ confirming the research.
The condition of this plaque is very good, it presents perfectly. There has been one tiny area of restoration (not visible under UV light even) to one poppy. The frame is modern.
I am very grateful to Ian Milne for his assistance with this research and use of his photos of Stoneleigh.