Harry Tittensor was born in Burslem on 20th April 1887, the son of Jarvis Tittensor and Hannah Cliffe. On 25th May 1912 he married May Wright, daughter of Elijah Wright at Burslem Parish Church. The marriage certificate describes him as a designer of Newport House, Burslem.
He was apprenticed at Doulton & Co from 1900 and trained at the Burslem School of Art, where he later became a teacher. An article on the Renaissance of Staffordshire Figure-making says “between 1914 and 1921 several other sculptors made contributions to the range. They included Albert Toft, Lawrence Perugini, and two resident artists, Harry Tittensor RI, and Ernest W Light, both local art masters. Tittensor’s The Gainsborough Hat, Pretty Lady and The Parson’s Daughter; Light’s Lady of the Fan, Lady with Rose, The Curtsey and the Flounced Skirt; Perugini’s Shy Anne and other child studies; and Noke’s Carpet Vendor, Guy Fawkes and An Old King opened up new directions which were to inspire many subsequent creations. In helping Noke to establish the new figure department on a sound basis, Tittensor – one of the most versatile all-round artists ever employed by Doulton – played an inestimably important part”. Other books also show examples of his work. He left Doulton & Co in 1925 to work as a painter in oil & watercolour and taught at various schools of art.
For many years Tittensor was a designer with the Chromo Transfer Co in Burslem. The prizes in the British Pottery Manufacturers’ Federation design competition were won by Chromo Transfer Co for both the jubilee of George V and the coronation of Edward VIII. The Edward VIII design was also used for the coronation of George VI. It seems likely that Harry Tittensor was the designer. Interestingly the commemorative mug produced for the coronation of George V by Taylor and Kent in 1911 has “Tittensor” printed below the rim, so it is possible he designed this too.
He has painted landscapes and figures in both water colours and oils. He became a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours in 1931. Much of his work was exhibited and sold by the Fine Art Society in London. He also exhibited at the Royal Academy. A picture entitled “The Bird Shop, San Malo”, exhibited by the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours in 1932, was bought by the Queen.
Harry Tittensor of The Boat House, Barlaston died age 55 on 19th July 1942. He is buried at the church of St John the Baptist, Barlaston where the memorial inscription reads “To the dear memory of Harry Tittensor of Barlaston July 19 1942”.
Potteries Auctions has had two of Harry Tittensor’s paintings in recent sales.
Lot 927 – Harry Tittensor, watercolour painting of lady with cat in wood frame, overall 42 x 57cm. Harry Tittensor worked as a ceramic artist at Royal Doulton from 1900-1925 when he left to concentrate on his paintings. Sale Price £55.00.
Lot 928 – Harry Tittensor, oil painting on board of ”The Gruuthuse in Bruges” in gilt frame, overall 62 x 53cm. Sale Price £80.00.