Maureen Love and Hagen-Renaker collectors may remember the continuing saga of the Maureen Love Mystery Pieces. Share The Love here
and Kristina Lucas Francis in her Muddy Hoofprints blog
have written about them in the past, and readers have contributed many photos of their own to add to the subject. For those who aren't familiar, the Maureen Love mystery pieces are sculpts that Maureen created and sold to companies for production other than Hagen-Renaker or her own line of Maureen Love Originals. This happened during a slow period for Hagen-Renaker in the early 1960s.
We know of a running horse, several versions of rearing horses, her large modern stylized bull and a miniature stylized rooster.
This is our latest exciting entry on Maureen's mystery pieces - three
new ones, actually!
Recently I came across a pair of ducklings for sale online, done in a cold-painted metallic gold finish antiqued with brown, that just stunned me. I immediately recognized them and knew every little detail of them, because as Share The Love I had poured and glazed sets of them last year using original molds from Maureen Love's estate.
These two ducklings are the first time we have examples of Maureen Love mystery pieces that actually have the pottery's name marked into the bottom.
They are both impressed marked under the base DeForest and both have the number 420.
I then found another example, glazed in a screaming 1960s red/orange. I really like this one, as it shows off the carving detail very well.
The base does not show any markings.
They are sculpts of Muscovy ducklings, and a description of our Share The Love Limited Edition issue of them is here.
This is Maureen's original sketch of the Muscovy ducks,
Maureen's original mold of the crouching one,
and our Share The Love version of them in glazed earthenware.
The DeForest of California ceramics company was created by Jack and Margaret DeForest and began in 1950 in Duarte, California, later in El Monte, CA. The Hagen-Renaker Pottery was originally located in Monrovia, right next to Duarte, and for an additional trivia note - Lippitt Morman, the model for HR's Lippit, used to be stabled in Duarte, CA, also.
DeForest, also seen as De Forest, is known for whimsical functional ware pieces - banks, canisters, shakers, mermaid & fish wall plaques, serving and condiment pieces in an Onion and also Mustache Man series. One of their slogans was 'Coast to Coast, It's the Most.' Realistic figurines are very out of character for them. I have found very little on DeForest, and welcome any additional information.
Using their name, however, I did find another example of a third Maureen Love mystery piece.
It happens to be one of her favorite subjects, a quail! This is an example in a lovely turquoise blue glaze and quite large at 8 inches tall, photo courtesy of Etsy shop nldvintage:
The base reads DeForest Calif USA 600 with a copyright symbol 196? (perhaps a 2)
The large quail mold from Maureen's estate below is very similar but not exact to the DeForest one. The body, head and beak shape is close, however the plumage style is more realistic and flowing in the DeForest example.
Below is a plasticarve wax original master of a large quail from Maureen's estate (courtesy of Kristina Lucas Francis) that is very similar but not exact to Maureen's mold above, especially different in the cheek and throat detail and shape of the forehead. I've set it at an angle to make it easier to compare. Maureen did several different versions of quail and bobwhite, and there are others not pictured here.
The closest quail sculpt of Maureen's to the DeForest is actually a miniature quail. This was cast from an original Maureen Love mold, and even though much smaller and the body shape being different you can see the more realistic feather detailing. The topknot, cheek and throat is very similar, and the foliage on the base is not only similar to the large DeForest quail, it is very reminiscent of the mystery horse bases. I think with all of this it is safe to say that the DeForest quail is actually a Maureen Love sculpt.
A second example of the DeForest large quail has been found, and now joins my collection.
The base reads DeForest of Calif U.S.A. 600 with copyright symbol 1963 or 1965, the date is very faint, darn it.
This quail is a mystery within a mystery. The glaze is fascinating. It appears this piece was previously glazed with a brown satin or matte glaze in a more realistic style. They then literally poured the new glaze over it. Notice the large drip off the tail, and large areas where it didn't cover the glaze underneath. Here is a closer view of it showing here:
The amazing overglaze on this may have been applied because the more realistic decoration was not popular, or because the topknot had broken off and the overglaze covered up the flaw.
Whatever the reason, it resulted in the most wonderful crazy crawling glaze!
Collectors keeping their eyes open may still come across rare examples of Maureen Love's sculpts, and can still add their own chapters to Maureen's history.
This is what keeps this hobby exciting, and I hope to hear from you with your own discoveries.
Now, check out another update on Maureen's mystery pieces by Kristina in her Muddy Hoofprints blog here