Oil on Board
8 1/4 x 11 1/4 inches
Signed Lower Right
Harry G. Aitken, a designer and head of the decorating department for the Onondaga Pottery Company (now Syracuse China), spent 44 years there prior to his retirement in 1946. At that time he was supervising the largest china decorating force in the U.S. Due to his congenial nature and his willingness to share his time and knowledge of art by giving free lessons, he was affectionately known as "Pop" throughout the factory.
Born in Trenton, New Jersey, July 12, 1867, he was the son of Charles and Abbie (Lake) Aitken. Upon completion of his high school studies, Aitken spent five years learning pottery art under Walter S. Lenox. He was then employed by Trenton China, Crescent Pottery, and finally Trenton Pottery, before leaving that city for employment with Onondaga Pottery in Syracuse, New York. His numerous designs were well received - particularly his "Nature Study Series" - and some are still produced today.
Aitken also continued with his artistic studies, taking time for lessons with John F. Carlson in Woodstock, New York, and also with H. Leigh-Ross and Lester Stevens in Rockport, Massachusetts. Besides exhibiting his oils and watercolors at the Syracuse Museum of Art, he also entered work in shows in New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Woodstock. In addition, he was known on the local art scene, becoming a member of the Printmakers Club and also the Associated Artists of Syracuse. Valuing his leisure time, the artist was noted as an avid fisherman and a "darn good baseball player."
After a short illness, Harry G. Aitken died at his home in Syracuse, New York on June 7, 1952. He was buried in Trenton, New Jersey.