George Woolliscroft Rhead, Magnolia grandiflora
Etching printed in brown, 1885
George Woolliscroft Rhead was born in North Staffordshire in 1855, into a family with a long association with the Potteries. His father, George Woolliscroft Rhead senior, was a talented pottery designer, and the younger George Woolliscroft Rhead and three of his siblings - Frederick Alfred, Louis John, and Fanny - were all apprenticed at Mintons. When Mintons set up an art pottery studio in Kensington in 1871, under the directorship of W. S. Coleman, George Woolliscroft Rhead moved to London to work there. He then gained a scholarship to study at the South Kensington School of Art. He studied painting under the Pre-Raphaelite artist Ford Madox Brown, and etching under the French master Alphonse Legros. A painter, etcher, and designer of stained glass and ceramics, George Woolliscroft Rhead was a central figure of the English Arts and Crafts Movement that arose from the Pre-Raphaelites. Especially talented as an etcher, he was elected RE in 1883. He was married twice, to Louise in 1894, and to the Scottish artist Annie French in 1914. His brother Frederick Alfred Rhead remained in the Potteries, and four of his children, including the designer Charlotte Rhead, followed him into ceramics. Louis John Rhead moved to New York in 1883, becoming an American citizen; he is regarded as one of the most important artists of American Art Nouveau. George Woolliscroft Rhead remained in London, where he died in 1920.