Aphrodite Rising from the Waves - A cameo glass plaque by George Woodall completed circa 1920. The circular plaque cased in opal over blue over red and carved with a nude female rising from crashing waves, one arm behind her head the other raised to her side and with legs submerged below the water, to the foreground two seagulls above rocks with a flock of further seagulls in the distance, all within a triple line border with six arched panels detailed with a seashell motif, signed Geo Woodall to the lower margin, diameter 21cm. Provenance - Personal collection of George Woodall and thence by family descent to the present owners. Literature - Illustrated by Christopher Woodall Perry, The Cameo Glass of Thomas and George Woodall (2000) p.75 Illustrated by Ray and Lee Grover, English Cameo Glass (1980), fig 130, page 164 History - In 1878 George Woodall, now in the employment of Thomas Webb & Sons, together with Wilkes Webb and William Fritsche, discovered the manufacturing process for Rock Crystal and at this time created a vase titled Aphrodite Rising from the Waves, a design which was to be later transferred to his cameo work. With the increasing interest and development of cameo glass Aphrodite, or versions thereof, became a favoured subject for Woodall featuring in variations across a number of other plaques and vases. The depiction of a classical female nude amongst waves can be seen in examples such as Nymph of the Sea (Thomas Webb & Sons ref W2805), Sea Foam (Thomas Webb & Sons ref GW6), Aphrodite (Thomas Webb & Sons ref GW160) and Aphrodite Rising from the Waves, all illustrated in Christopher Woodall Perry - The Cameo Glass of Thomas and George Woodall. Within the Thomas Webb & Sons inventory, also provided in Christopher Perry Woodall - The Cameo Glass of Thomas & George Woodall, there are references to two other Aphrodite plaques. One is listed as GW146, measuring 11in, for which George Woodall was paid £120 with the final selling price listed as £400 and the other GW160, a smaller example at 10 and 5/8in, for which George Woodall was paid £30 and the plaque sold for £95. This example, understood to have been completed circa 1920, is listed as not for sale and refers to it being in the collection of Alice Woodall, one of George's two daughters who, along with her sister Amy, was the main inspiration for many of his female studies. In English Cameo Glass by Ray & Lee Grover they provide a list of work executed by George Woodall arranged by subject matter and recorded titled. Here there is mention of ten examples of work featuring Aphrodite listed as follows - GW 113 - plaque on marble circa 1904, GW 146 (mentioned above) which notes its presentation at the 1910 Turin exhibition and subsequent sale in Leipzig, GW 2732 a 13 1/8in plaque exhibited in Chicago in 1893, GW160 (also mentioned above) completed in 1914 with mention of a sea shell and ribbon border, no ref - a plaque exhibited at the Franco-British Exhibition in 1908, no ref - 4 1/2 by 5 1/2in plaque, no ref - a vase, no ref - a plaque in white on blue and finally no ref - 8 1/4in plaque ''signed Geo Woodall'' shown at the Stourbridge Festival 1951, Stourbridge Council House Collection (understood to be the plaque now offered here for sale) This piece has remained in the family and this is the first time offered for sale since its completion by George Woodall.
Will Farmer - Director
Ceramics, Glass, Oriental & Decorative Arts
Will specialises in 20th Century decorative arts covering ceramics, glass and furniture. He studied at the Birmingham School of Jewellery undertaking a combined BA Hons in silversmithing and Fine Art history. Notable finds include a Martin Brothers Stoneware bird selling for £20,500 and a rare collection of documents relating to the Stourbridge Glass Industry selling locally for over £22,000. Will is now in his eighth season as an expert on BBC's Antiques Roadshow.