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|Title: ||A survey of the development and assessment of the influence of golf as a traditional sporting theme in the pre-1930 decoration of ceramics|
|Authors: ||Mutch, Andrew C.|
|Supervisors: ||Carradice, Ian|
|Issue Date: ||2008|
|Abstract: ||This thesis investigates the history of golf ceramics from their origins in the mid-18th
century until ca. 1930. During this period the game of golf experienced enormous
popularity, developing into a globally successful sport. In the modern period golf has also
fostered a thriving trade for the collecting of golf memorabilia, surpassing that of any other
comparable sport. The thesis traces the development and spread of one form of golf
collectibles – golf ceramics – and considers both the relationship of the pottery industry to
the sport and the reasons behind the achievement of the genre.
The modern form of golf likely began in the 13th and 14th centuries as a short game played
within town walls. Under pressure from Burgh officials and Kirk ordinances, golfers
eventually moved to the linksland and developed the now characteristic long game. In 18th-
century Britain, elite golf clubs for gentlemen and noblemen sprang from existing sporting
societies such as the Royal Company of Archers. The first examples of golf pottery, a series
- and early 19th
- century convivial and commemorative punch bowls, were
commissioned as a direct result of the growing competitive and social traditions of the early
During the prosperous Victorian era, golf experienced a period of immense growth and
geographic expansion, particularly during the "boom" of 1890 to 1905. As golf spread
internationally, it became a game primarily for the leisure class, inspiring holiday and resort
destinations for the wealthy. Exclusive clubs grew at a rate that far surpassed the
availability of public golf, thereby changing the character of the game to one predominantly
practised by the rich. The game's growth inspired enterprising pottery manufacturers to
produce new and imaginative golf-themed pottery lines, pre-1930. Golf's burgeoning
popularity, combined with the affluence of its practitioners, created the ideal consumer
audience for decorative and non-utilitarian wares. Between 1895 and 1930, eighty-five or
more manufacturers were actively developing golf wares.
As the pottery industry recognized the potential of the golf market, inventive new lines were
developed that utilized original artwork from renowned illustrators of the era, such as
Charles Dana Gibson, Howard Chandler Christy, Palmer Cox, Mabel Lucie Attwell, and
Harrison Fisher. This commitment to quality golf imagery indicated that potteries placed
the game in a higher institutional priority than other traditional sporting themes, such as cricket, tennis, rugby, or football. Royal Doulton, for example, generated no fewer than
twenty ranges specifically for the golf market or adapted to meet the demands of its
expanding following. Doulton wares featured illustrative images produced by Gibson,
Charles Crombie, Henry Mayo Bateman, Will H. Bradley, and Barbara Vernon (Bailey).
Doulton’s commitment to prominent illustration reflected golf’s importance to the financial
good footing of the firm.
The substantial catalogue of historical golfing wares produced during the period of
examination experienced unparalleled success in secondary markets throughout the 20th
century. Prominent institutional and individual golf collections emerged, leading to the
formation of international golf collecting societies, and golf-specific museums and archives.
Interest in golf collectibles advanced to the level where golf became a stand-alone auction
speciality. In 2000 and 2001 alone, twenty-three major international golf sales were held.
Golf pottery values escalated commensurate with the increased notoriety, availability, and
Certainly, no other traditional sport can claim such an extensive collection of wares, or a
more enduring legacy in the worldwide ceramics and fine art pottery industry.|
|Publisher: ||University of St Andrews|
|Appears in Collections:||Art History Theses|
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