At Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum Arts and Crafts Museum

Alfred and Louise Powell

After training in John Sedding’s architectural office, Alfred Powell began his career as a ‘wandering architect’ working on sites throughout Britain with a group of craftsmen and undertaking commissions for the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. 

After a period of ill health he moved to the Cotswolds in 1901.  Two years later he submitted designs for freehand pottery decoration to Josiah Wedgwood and Sons which was looking for new designers to revive its fortunes. He married Louise Lessore in 1906 and they worked together with studios in London and Gloucestershire.

Alfred Powell’s designs include architectural landscapes and small scenes often painted in underglaze blue and repeating patterns based on leaf forms. Both he and Louise Powell painted their designs on furniture designed by Ernest Gimson, Sidney Barnsley, and Peter Waals.  Powell, while he loved painting, was really an outdoor person and said of the detailed work he did, ‘I only wish I could do it running about instead of sitting like a monkey eating nuts!’  They led a simple but socialable existence in the Cotswolds with regular summer camps and musical entertainments which attracted other artists, designers and craftspeople to the area.


They trained a number of pupils including Grace Barnsley, Sidney Barnsley's daughter, and in 1906 set up a hand-painting shop in the Wedgwood factory.

Emery Walker AD 1