Frederick Alfred Rhead

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Frederick Alfred Rhead (1856–1933) was a potter working in North Staffordshire, England. He is not to be confused with his son Frederick Hurten Rhead (1880–1942) who was also a potter, and who worked mainly in the USA. His other children included the pottery designer Charlotte Rhead.

Rhead's father, G.W. Rhead, worked in the pottery industry, and young Frederick was apprenticed at Mintons Ltd. He was one of a number of apprentices who in the 1870s learnt the art of pâte-sur-pâte decoration from Marc-Louis Solon, a French émigré who was the leading exponent of this ceramic technique.[1] Rhead continued to work in pâte-sur-pâte after leaving Minton. He joined Wedgwood and went on to work at a number of potteries including a failed venture of his own. His most famous piece of ceramics is the "Gladstone Vase" which was presented to William Ewart Gladstone by the Liberals of Burslem in 1888. The vase is on public view, having been loaned to the Gladstone Pottery Museum in Longton, Staffordshire.

Besides working in three dimensions as a ceramic designer, Rhead worked in two dimensions as a graphic designer, although in the latter field he was somewhat overshadowed by his brother Louis Rhead who pursued a successful career in the USA. The three brothers Frederick, Louis and George Woolliscroft Rhead Jr collaborated on book illustration projects, for example an edition of The Pilgrim's Progress.


  • Bumpus, Bernard Collecting Rhead Pottery: Charlotte, Frederick, Frederick Hurten, 1999

Bernard Bumpus (1921–2004) was the leading authority on the Rhead family. In 1986 Bumpus curated an exhibition at the Geffrye Museum in London. This exhibition, Rhead Artists and Potters, toured several UK museums including the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent. Bumpus hoped to take a version of the exhibition to the USA, but, despite American interest in the Rhead family, this project foundered.[2]


  1. ^ "Remarkable Rheads come back into focus at auction in Exeter". Antiques Trade Gazette. 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2015. 
  2. ^ obituary, The Times, London October 25, 2004
  3. ^ on-line book The pilgrim's progress from this world to that which is to come