For more information see The Bromsgrove Guild, an Illustrated History, by Quintin Watt.
Price range: £325
I am delighted to offer for sale this very interesting copper dish, set with a beautiful enamel roundel of a bee. This dish was recently acquired at Fieldings Auctioneers, Stourbridge (part of lot 851), who were disposing of the estate of a member of a the Headley family from Bromsgrove.
For full details of the provenance, see my stock item A724 at this link. Subsequent research has identified that one of the plaques at the sale was in fact signed Jefferies, confirming my research that the enamels were by Ernest Charles Jefferies of the Bromsgrove Guild. I am confident he did this bee enamel. The bee has a definite malevolent look, created with some skill, and in keeping with the fish enamels from the same auction (A725).
The dish itself is signed faintly to the reverse “LH, 1933” and I am sure made by the artist Lorenzo Headley (1860-1940), when he was 73. Headley is an enigmatic figure who came from a large, not well off, Birmingham family engaged in a brass foundry business. This was Lorenzo’s occupation in the 1891 census but it seems he had the good sense to marry well, and in 1891 married Frances Helen Sheldon, only daughter of a Bromsgrove farmer. By the 1901 (and 1911) census he was listed as an artist and sculptor and there are some records of him exhibiting his art, though he was never recognised professionally. Whilst he lived in Bromsgrove there is no record of him ever having worked for the Bromsgrove Guild (and there are extensive archives of the Bromsgrove Guild’s workers). Given the age at which he produced this dish my suspicion is that he was using Bromsgrove enamels to enhance his own metalwork, though he might well have been part of the Bromsgrove franchise.
Maker: Bromsgrove Guild of Applied Arts (possibly)
Designer: Ernest Charles Jefferies, Lorenzo Headley
Marks: Copper signed LH 1933
Material: Enamel, copper
Size: Diameter 15.5 cm
Weight : 97 grams, 3.4 oz