Starting work at the factory as a boy in 1872, he was part of the first generation of artists who, working on a piece-rate, specialised in painting bountiful still-lifes of the local agricultural produce on porcelain blanks.
A good idea of his talents was provided by the fine pair of plaques offered by Trevanion & Dean (24% buyer’s premium inc VAT) in Whitchurch, Shropshire, on August 22.
Measuring 18in (45cm) across in matching gilt glazed frames, these had puce factory marks with date dots for 1920 (visible verso through a cut-out panel), suggested they were among the last pieces Roberts painted.
Prices for similar pieces have dipped in the past decade but this duo provided something of a trip down memory lane when selling for £7600 (estimate £600-1000).
Another ‘man and boy’ Worcester artist was Raymond Rushton – best known as the painter of English chocolate box topographical and landscape scenes.
Among his more atypical output is a series of rectangular and oval views of north European cities produced during and after the First World War. The two plaques pictured here are titled The Cathedral, Antwerp and Hotel De Ville, Brussels and carry puce factory marks with date dots for 1921 and 1920 respectively.
Housed in gilt frames measuring 16 x 13in (41 x 34cm), these took £1100 – a price that reflected a crack through the sky in the top right corner of the Antwerp plaque.
Two smaller circular plaques by Rushton with date codes for 1918 took £1000 at Woolley & Wallis in 2018. One depicted the Brussels town hall with the other titled Meaux on the Marne.