Rathbone Studio

Part of the iconic Della Robbia Pottery was situated at 28 Argyle Street, Birkenhead, between 1894 – 1906. The ethos behind the Della Robbia Pottery was to bring individuality to each piece produced; allowing the artist to express and create unique and original designed ceramic work. Rathbone Studio aims to bring back the zeitgeist spirit of the Della Robbia Pottery to Birkenhead.

The potential to bring the sprit of the Della Robbia Pottery back to Birkenhead has been helped with the support of Methodist Housing and financial support through the Empty Shop Fund from the Wirral Borough Council.  

You can read more about Della Robbia Pottery by clicking here.

Janet Holmes

Janet Holmes, a local potter (and a Cheshire woman of the year nominee) who has exhibited and taught on the Wirral for over 30 years is opening the Rathbone Studio. Janet says, “I am so excited, Della Robbia represented the golden age of the town and became internationally renowned. When I realised that 28 Argyle Street was empty, I felt it was opening a door from the past that shines a light on the present community to express themselves."

"Not only will I be exhibiting my own work but there will be workshops that give people the technical skills to produce their own work and offer an environment that allows individual creativity. Della Robbia was founded by Conrad Dressler and Harold Rathbone, so I am proud to bring the Rathbone name back to Argyle Street. My work is so far from the highly glazed Della Robbia style but by following in the footsteps of those great potters maybe I can be the shape of things to come."  

Janet was born and grew up in Wallasey on the Wirral. Whilst attending a Saturday morning life class, a casual remark was made that she may find working in a three-dimensional medium more rewarding.

This insight set her on a life long exploration of the endless possibilities of creative ceramics and an enduring love of clay. The following time spent at Art College and small independent potteries saw her fierce individuality and single-minded vision begin to shine. Her work is deeply routed in a respect for the clay's natural economy, incorporating textures that suggest intimate and sensuous curves.

With an unpretentious organic element, Janet's free-spiritedness and insatiable desire for life and her art, is reflected in a highly personal approach to her pottery.

Since becoming a single mum, she has continued her quixotic journey, mounting successful exhibitions, teaching and assembling a fine body of work, but never to the detriment of her beloved family and friends. These paradoxical needs have made her into a skilled juggler of her time that any world-class circus act would envy.

A life long disciple of the wit and wisdom of the Marx Brothers and an almost fanatical emersion in art, poetry, literature and classical music, at times, her life has mirrored the emotional rollercoaster of the MGM musicals that she adores.

All of these things are represented and reflected in every new piece she completes.