An Arts and Crafts Masterwork
Addison LeBoutillier succeeded George Kendrick as Director of Design at Grueby in 1902 and designed many of their tiles. He was an experienced draughtsman and masterful illustrator who had traveled the world, studying a variety of periods and styles from Etruscan to Celtic. Perhaps his most admired design is that of his fireplace frieze dubbed The Pines. Consisting of eight tiles, it displayed subtle variations in shape and glaze that provided a variety of color and tone highly prized by the artist and his colleagues.
The overall design of The Pines perfectly encapsulates LeBoutillier's own declaration that "landscape and figures should be reduced to ornament."
The present lot, larger, more costly, and thus rarer than most examples, was adapted from the frieze and is executed in an ancient Moorish process known as cuenca, involving a design being pressed into the clay which forms channels with low walls that kept Grueby’s thick glazes separate. The resulting stylized scene ranks among some of the best of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Le Boutillier remained at Grueby until at least 1911 and would produce over one hundred tile designs during his tenure.