Art deco, Art nouveau, Arts and crafts
For sale is this very special Irish arts and crafts enamel plaque. The unsigned plaque is titled Athena to the reverse. The plaque was acquired in Ireland from an Irish estate and the enameller has been identified as Nora McCartan. The plaque dates to c 1920.
Nora McCartan (1887-1977) studied under Oswald Reeves, the Alexander Fisher of Ireland, at the Metropolitan School of Art Dublin. Little is known of her career but she seems to have remained an artist all her life, with watercolours exhibited at various later Hiberian exhibitions.
This plaque features a classic Greek goddess more in the image of Aphrodite or Demeter, goddess of agriculture, spreading wheat, eaten by birds. Quite why it is titled Athena (goddess of war, but also arts and crafts) is a mystery. The plaque has the clear deco influence of the inter war Dublin School. A very similar goddess enamelled on a copper bowl, can be seen in a photo published in “Arts & Crafts” Journal Volume 1 page 190, by Kathleen Quigly, also a pupil of the Dublin School (see images, lower left; this bowl was exhibited at the 1910 Fourth Exhibition of the Arts and Craft Society of Ireland)). To my mind the influence of Duncan Grant and the Bloomsbury School is also evident.
The impact and scale of this plaque are particularly impressive. The plaque alone measures 23 cm x 13cm and is perfect condition. The frame and framing are of poor quality but are original and also in good condition.
Any further information on Nora McCarten or this plaque would be gratefully received.
Maker: Nora McCartan
Designer: Nora McCartan
Date : c. 1920
Marks: Frame named to reverse. Not signed.
Material: Enamel on copper
Size: Plaque: 23cm x 13cm.
Weight : NM