Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Belleek Newslettre (# 21.1)
** HAPPY HOLIDAYS !!
Wishing you all a most joyful Holiday Season with my
wishes for a healthful, peaceful and prosperous
Belleeking New Year !!
A Collection of my Fenton Glass Works Holiday Penguins !!
FOUR DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS !!
This is more of an intent to force me to quit with my
tendencies and publish my Current
Newslettre in a timely fashion and
for all you Belleekers out there, hopefully
SPLENDID Festive Season, to Receive this PRIOR to
our Holiday Recess !!
Scholar Lincoln's Progress !!
IF you've been following his 'progress', here's my
studying an interesting book during
a chilly Autumn Evening in front
of a nice fire !!
I believe that he's reading 'SHOP CATS of New
(City) as he has a couple of pet cats and is
therefore, very interested
in these ambitious cats
whom, take up management positions in Borough
stores and are eventually 'adopted' by the local
shop owners of New
City not only as colourful
employees, but also occasionally performing
pest control measures !!
Lincoln enjoying a fine book in front of an Autumn Fire !!
Ms Edith Kathleen McDermott !!
Fergus Cleary, a.k.a., Robert Armstrong, penned
in his Journal :
you may not know about Belleek Part 14' :
"Edith Kathleen McDermott
"A number of years ago a visitor to Belleek Pottery
brought a most
unusual piece of Belleek. It was a
second period earthenware bowl
decorated with Celtic
scroll work and with the name ‘E.K. McDermott’
written on the base of the bowl along with the words
'Irish Arts Workers
Guild’ - being intrigued by this
some research cried out!
"In 1887 the 'Arts and Crafts Movement' in England
was founded by
Influenced by the writings of John Ruskin
(1819–1900), it urged the return to using simple
forms and a medieval
style of decoration. It
advocated truth to materials, traditional
craftsmanship and economic reform.
"Eight years later a similar ‘Arts and Crafts’ group
was founded in
Ireland by a number of like minded
artists and was greatly influenced
by the revival of
interest in the Irish language and the promotion of
goods manufactured in Ireland. Its founders were a
diverse bunch of
people from all social backgrounds.
The Earl of Mayo, Dermot Robert
7th Earl of Mayo, is credited with founding the group
in 1895 although it was operational perhaps more
informally before this
date. The group would also
included William Butler Yeats who was
William Morris while he lived in London.
"Belfast Art College seems to have been a late
arrival to the Arts and
crafts movement. This
was possibly because it was viewed as an
that was there to support industry in the greater
area. This was to change when a new head
of College called Robert
Dawson arrived from England
in 1900. He actively encouraged the
current art trends including Celtic design. This was
seen in the work of John Campbell who became
well known as an
illustrator of books of that period.
He is listed as a member of the
Irish Art workers
guild in 1917 other members of this guild included
Rosamund Praeger the Sculptor.
"The Arts and Crafts Society of Ireland became
the Guild of Irish Art
Workers in 1917 lasting
until 1925. It seems that Belleek Pottery
the Belfast Art College with blank shapes for
did not participate in any other
way with the artistic endeavours of
These bowls are listed in the earthenware section
1904 catalogue as Plain Milk Bowls 24s.
"What do we know about E.K. McDermott. She was
born Edith Kathleen Mc
Dermott in Co. Armagh in
1877. At the 3rd Irish Arts & Crafts
held in 1904 she exhibited a carved Walnut panel.
not listed as exhibiting at the subsequent
exhibitions of 1910 and
1917. In the Census of
1911 (she) is listed as an Art & Crafts teacher.
can presume that she continued as an Art
teacher for the rest of her
life and we know she
died in 1950 aged 73 at 84 Malone Avenue Belfast.
Unfortunately at this juncture we do not know
anything more about her
work but would be very
interested to know more about her life and
If you're interested in the actual Census Information,
Links to BOTH the 1901 and 1911
Census as follows :
EK McDermott Family Census 1901
EK McDermott Family Census 1911
for the 'quality' of the information,
but considering that these
transcribed in pencil or pen on paper, have
through the Years, in any condition is a wonder !!
any case they are presented here to provide you
information regarding Ms McDermott's
immediate family !!
The following three photographs are reprinted
from the Belleek Pottery
courtesy of Fergus Cleary,
Head of Design,
Belleek Pottery Ltd !! MANY THANKS !!
picture displays a Side View of a finely decorated bowl,
displaying a beautiful collage of Celtic Design !!
Another angle, displays a Top View of this same bowl,
displaying unique and intricate Celtic Images !!
Above, we can visualize Ms McDermott's 'Signature'
on the Bottom of the 2nd Period Bowl !!
NOTE : She Also Indicates Her Connection to the
Irish Art Workers Guild (Belfast) !!
Further correspondence with Fergus provided
numerous amounts of
most important, his concluding statement :
".. .. but she (EK McDermott) was very much
involved in the Irish Arts
which, in turn was linked to the revival of the
language which was taking place from the
1890's to the period before the
First World War.
It also linked into the Irish Nationalist movement
Home Rule but many of those (especially in
Ulster) who were actively
involved in the craft and
language movement were not sympathetic to the
Home Rule ideals and in the period after 1912
the fault line of Irish
politics between Nationalism
and Unionism increasingly submerged the
The Earthenware Celtic Decorated Bowl, previous,
and the Gaelic
'house warming' Bowl, following,
were both included in a very fine
our 2017 Belleek Pottery Anniversary Gathering !!
many of our Belleekers were
unable to join us all at our
I will hopefully reterate some of this material
as well as expanding on a few core principles of
I'm REALLY indebted to Fergus' historical knowledge
for assisting me
innumerably in my quest for a basic
Translation from Gaelic to English !!
Seriously, I was well aware of
accomplishments as a designer and potter, but I
NO idea he was also an (Irish) Gaelic Scholar !!
Before I present any further beautiful artwork,
I believe, a 'bit' of
understanding of the Gaelic
Language is appropriate !!
The Gaelic Alphabet
contains only 17 letters, represented or written
the Roman (English) Alphabet as :
a b c d e f g i l m n o p r s t u
Editors Note : The Roman Alphabet or Western
European Alphabet, i.e.,
OUR language, is utilized
since we have no equivalent representation
Gaelic Character Formation on type writers or
computer keyboards !!
Editors' Note : There MAY be a 'subset' Gaelic
Alphabet available on Apple Computers ??!!
Various versions of Windows also have capabilities
of entering characters with 'diacritical' marks,
the simplest being that of selecting [Insert] and
Similar to many other languages, Gaelic utilizes
A diacritical mark is simply
a glyph, i.e., elemental symbol, added to
or basic glyph !! In Gaelic type, we are interested
PAIR of diacritics !! First, an acute accent
the lengthening of
their sound !! Second, a dot over a consonant
'lenition' or sound change, actually a
'softening', of the consonant in
question !! I will
discuss the linguistics of lenition later in this
as its utilization was 'eliminated'
with the advent of
Modern Irish or Gaelic and as
the 'saying', on the
inner rim of my bowl, appears to be written in
Modern Gaelic !!
This linguistic acute accent, is referred to in Gaelic
as a síneadh
fada [SHEEN-oo FAH-duh], or 'long
accent' !! Most Irish speakers and
refer to it as a 'fada' !!
The fada is a right-slanting
line placed over a vowel (as in the í in
above) !! It indicates that the vowel is to be
pronounced 'long' !!
Thus, we 'add' an additional five 'Characters' or
'sounds' into our
original Gaelic Alphabet !!
á é í ó ú !!
Diacritic marks aren’t just there for decoration !!
They supply a
of information about the word in
question, including how certain
pronounced and often which syllables should be
Similar to other languages, the
presence of a fada over its vowel is
to be a different letter from its unmarked
words that are supposed to have
fada mark(s) and don’t are
considered to be
Sometimes the only
between one word and another is the presence
of that little accent !!
Here are several Irish words that can take on very
if the fada is omitted, added
where it isn’t needed, or misplaced :
Céad (kayd): “Hundred”
Cead (kad): “Permission”
Bríste (BREESS-cheh): “Trousers”
Briste (BRIS-cheh): “Broken”
Seán (shawn): A man’s name; a form of “John”
Séan (shayn): Noun: “sign/omen,” Verb: “deny/refuse”
Sean (shan): “Old”
And these just scratch the surface !! As you can
see, it really is a
major deal !!
The following four pictures, display the complete
'saying' from my
bowls interior :
NOTE : I've expressed the lettering on this bowl
as ALL capital
letters, as BOTH the 'R's and the
in a capital Gaelic 'form' !!
We Envision My Bowls Interior,
Beginning of our 'Welcome' Message !!
The 'Starting' Point is the Little 'Baseball' Diamond,
i.e., 5 Dots !!
This symbol is actually referred to as
the Five Dot Mark !! VERY
First Two Words of My Bowls Saying : IS FEARR !!
Third Word of My Bowls Saying : CAIRDE !!
Final Two Words of My Bowls Saying : NÁ ÓR !!
: the fada's on BOTH the 'A' and the 'O' !!
I purchased this wonderful Earthenware 'Friendship'
Bowl from a very
nice lady Years ago !! She had
previously had the Bowls 'saying'
translated from Gaelic into English as :
(Modern Irish) Gaelic : IS FEARR CAIRDE NÁ ÓR
English : Is Better Friendship than Gold
I asked my Computer to perform an On Line
Google Translation of this
phrase and it responded
'Best Friends than Gold'
Since this Gaelic phrase is what I refer to as a
'welcoming' or 'house
warming' phrase, I would
believe that the interpretation of 'Is Better
Friendship than Gold' is
probably the 'proper'
And, Lastly, E.K. McDermotts Signature,
By a 2nd Period Belleek Pottery Mark !!
This completes the provenance I wished to provide
little 'Welcome' Belleek Bowl, signed
Edith Kathleen McDermott !!
Prior to my Newslettres 'Special Introduction', I
believe it necessary
for a very brief discussion of
the second diacritic mark utilized in
Old Gaelic !!
Utilized in OLD or ‘ancient’ Gaelic script, properly
referred to as
Ogham script, ‘fricating lenition’,
lenition in Modern Irish grammar
contexts, is indicated by a ‘dot’
above the affected
consonant !! The placement of this dot, above its
consonant, ‘softens’ the pronunciation of that letter !!
referred to in Gaelic as Séimhiú
The Irish name for this little dot is buailte
Fergus refers to this ‘dot’ as a
Shibhú, although the ONLY reference to
this I was
able to discouver was the translated meaning into
‘Shift’ or ‘Power’ !! UNFORTUNATELY,
I cannot locate these definitions
As you might imagine, writing with all sorts of dots
sporting about with the letters
got pretty confusing to read !! Not to
include the invention of the type writer !! Hence,
letter ‘h’ doesn’t (actually) appear in the
Gaelic Alphabet, the Irish
introduced the convention
of using ‘h’ to show this ‘softening’ or
a consonant in spelling and writing Modern Irish !!
Thus, in the Roman script, the convention is to
suffix the letter ‘h’
to the consonant, to signify
that it is lenited !!
ONLY the nine following consonants can be affected
by lenition :
b c d f g m p s t, which, as lenited, would appear as :
ḃ ċ ḋ ḟ ġ ṁ ṗ ṡ
ṫ and converted properly,
into Modern Gaelic or Irish, become :
dh fh gh mh ph sh th, respectively !!
Thus, a ṁáṫair, in Old Gaelic, is equivalent to
a mháthair (mother),
in Modern Gaelic or Irish !!
Therefore, in converting from Old
Gaelic to Modern
Gaelic we 'eliminate' the lenition and thus the only
diacritic mark remaining is the fada !!
I have PROMISSED so many of my WONDERFUL
Belleeker friends and acquaintances regarding this
article, I'm SO pleased and relieved that I've
FINALLY completed my 'special' presentation !!
I was extremely fortunate in acquiring the following
Decorated Bowl in
a ‘barter’ transaction involving a
very true and trusted Belleeker
friend of us all,
namely, Lady Marion Langham !! I forwarded several
pictures on to Fergus and, as with other ‘finds’, he
It's an approximate 10" diameter WOOD bowl, again
with an inscription
around its upper rim !! In addition
to the inscription which, appears
to be figured from
'wire', there's splendid artwork as well as three
which, appear to be 'coated' in some
form of 'kiln fired' enamel ??
Envision the Starting 'Mark' of our Welcome Expression
Along with a SPLENDID Enamel Disc !!
Followed by the First Word of its Expression : Atas !!
Along with the Second Word : ar
As well as Another Bright Enameled Disc !!
Then the Third Word : do !!
And Finally, the Remainder of Our Expression : teac !!
Anyhow, I believe that, over the Years or thru
‘unfortunate abuse’, some
portion of the wire
characters were either damaged or in some other
manner ‘disappeared’ !! Therefore, I have presented
welcoming expression reading, ‘initially’,
LESS any fada ‘marks’
(acute accents) and séimhiú
(lenition), in Gaelic script as :
⸭ Atas ar
Fergus, of course, recognized immediately, several
with character representations of
this expression !! As he states
“However I think
the grammar and spelling is wrong .. ..” !! He
concluded that several ‘important’ diacritic marks
missing, not only to ‘produce’ valid
Gaelic words but more so for this
translate into anything meaningful !! His
produced a saying as :
⸭ Áṫas ar do ṫeaċ
which, ‘expanding’ the lenition properly leaves us
a Modern Irish expression of :
⸭ Áthas ar do theach
He finally states : “My grammar is a bit rusty but
I believe this
expression literally translates as :
'Happiness on Your House' (or) 'Your
Happy Home' !!
I accomplished my 'feeble' attempt at Gaelic to
English Translation on
the Internet, and arrived at
a VERY similar translation, that of
to Your Home' !!
As (my) Internet translation was, by default, Google
appear to utilize fairly 'simple'
interpretations ?? They DO
'alternate' translations, to include both (Fergus')
'Happiness' as well as 'Bliss', among many others !!
I'm rather drawn to the selection of
'Bliss' as this implies, to me,
not only happiness,
BUT additionally, peace and tranquility !!
Edith's Moniker along with Her Shop Sticker
on the Bottom of Her Wooden Bowl !!
A Close Up of EK McDermott's Shop Sticker !!
The MAJOR importance of this bowl, to ME, is that
it was Decorated by E
only her Name on the bottom 'Edith K McDermott',
a 'sticker' from EK McDermott,
22 Willington Place, Belfast, as we can
from the photographs above !!
|Concave Napkin Ring !!
||Convex Napkin Ring !!
Above, I've pictured the 'matching' napkin rings !!
(curves outward) ring
has NO expression
on it, just the Celtic Design you see encompasses
Its mate, the convex (curves outward) ring has a
Welcoming Saying on it !! Hopefully, I've got
concave and convex defined properly ??!!
McDermott Wooden Salad Bowl and Matching Napkin Rings
Sitting on Display Atop One of My China Displays !!
Following Months of studying these items, I realized
that the 'Saying'
the Napkin Ring and Bowl are
IDENTICAL !! As Fergus added : “The
shows all the indications that it was created in the
of the Irish Arts and Crafts Movement.”
Therefore, I would say that
we can easily assume
that Ms McDermott modeled both items !!??
mark of a TRUE
artist, working with multiple mediums !!
We now know that she
on BOTH Ceramics
(at least Belleek) and 'dabbled' with wood !! She
expertise with the 'metal lettering'
on her (wood) bowl, as well as the
Personally, I would be HAPPY to receive a house
warming gift with ANY
of these 'from the heart'
AGAIN, I wish you ALL the most SPLENDID and
FESTIVE Holiday Season !! And may Success and
Happiness follow you during your 2018 Belleeking
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Del E. Domke, Belleek Consultant
16142 N.E. 15th. Street
Bellevue, WA 98008-2711
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