Delighted to have assisted Liverpool Museum with its acquisition of this piece.
A classic arts and crafts period watercolour portrait of a young girl kneeling on a chair in a pre-raphaelite style, within a handmade arts and crafts copper frame. Both are by Lily Day.
Lily Day was born in Liverpool, England in 1870 and studied at Liverpool School of Architecture and Applied Art and Norwich School of Art in Norwich in the 1890s. In the 1901 census she describes herself as “an artist in metalwork” and she seems to have spent most of her career as the instructor of enamelling (and metalwork) at the School of Architecture and Applied Art, Liverpool University.
An enamelled plaque designed by her is illustrated in ‘The Studio’ January 1902 (p.256). Two necklaces and a copper box designed by her are illustrated in ‘The Studio’ August 1906 (pp.251, 252).
Day’s work (enamels) was exhibited at the Turin International Exhibition of Decorative Arts, 1902 in the famous “Writing room” designed by Herbert and Frances McNair, by then also based in Liverpool having been part of the original Glasgow Four with Charles and Margaret Mackintosh. The Studio wrote: “Two show cases contain – one, objets d’art by the McNairs, and the other enamels by Miss Lily Day. Both cases are very good”. The cases are shown in my images, the right one containing Day’s work.
Between 1898 and the early 1920s Lily Day exhibited frequently at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. She lived in Bootle, Lancashire for most of her early life, later moving to Wales.
This frame is decorated with Glasgow School or Ashbee style brass decoration and the copper frame carries the repousse title “Marjorie” and dated AD 1896. The reverse carries a label giving Day as the artist/exhibitor and stating that Marjorie was the daughter of J J Ogle. Marjorie Ogle (1894-1981), age 2 in the picture, was born in Bootle Liverpool. Her father John Ogle was a methodist teacher. Marjorie was herself a teacher for most of her life. There are other markings to the back I cannot decipher.
A charming authentic arts and crafts piece. Condition is excellent and totally original – I am not sure the back has been off in a hundered years. The dark brown copper patina may at some point have been augmented with stain or wax. Note that this is a very handmade piece with visible screws, slightly crude metalwork and hammering.
Maker: Lily Day
Designer: Lily Day
Marks: Labels to reverse
Material: Copper, brass
Size: 33 cm high, 28 cm width (frame)