George P. Kendrick 1850–1919
George P. Kendrick was born in Natchez, Mississippi. He worked as a clerk in Boston in the 1870s, and by 1885 was a draughtsman of metalwork and book covers for the Boston firm Andrews, Jaques & Rantoul, as well as a charter member of the Society of Arts and Crafts. Kendrick was also an accomplished metalworker, showing over a dozen pieces in Boston at the First Exhibition of the Arts and Crafts in 1897. That same year, he and architect William Graves were enlisted as partners of the Grueby Faience Company by William H. Grueby. Kendrick served an important role as the first designer for the company and brought to the position a unique combination of skills honed through his experiences as a draughtsman, metalworker, and freelance designer. He was deeply familiar with the design credo of the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts, which extolled the harmony of form, function, material, decoration, and the unification of designer and craftsman. At Grueby—where he was in charge of both the design and production of pottery—he was able to shape that knowledge into clay, sometimes working with his own hands, and always overseeing the modeling of pieces by his staff of assistants. Mary Chase Perry, founder of Pewabic Pottery in 1903, said of Grueby’s production method: “Unlike many other potteries, there is virtually no mechanical assistance employed and throughout every touch of individual hand work is retained.” She also sang Kendrick’s praises, saying of his pottery designs that “it might truly be said that he has fathered them all…he is a designer by instinct as well as by understanding...” Kendrick left Grueby in 1902 and thereafter worked in various capacities, including as a piano salesman and clerk, until his death in 1919.