Poet, writer, collector and connoisseur, Edward James (1907-1984) was one of the most important figures in English Surrealism, patronising many of the luminaries of contemporary art during the early 1930s, including Paul Nash, Salvador Dali and Renee Magritte. His estate at West Dean, which James inherited in 1912, lies in close proximity to Woolbeding, and is now the home of the Edward James Foundation.
During the 1930s James was encouraged by the Mount Street decorator Dolly Mann to introduce 'bamboo' furnishings together with palm-tree ornament as part of his Surrealist enrichment of Monkton, his 'magical house in the woods' at West Dean, Sussex (C. Aslet, 'Monkton House, West Sussex', Country Life, 12 September 1985, pp. 700-704).
Caneware of this type is first mentioned in the Wedgwood sales records on 15th June 1786: 'Cane tube flower pots painted blue £1.12.0'
(Wedgwood MS 16/15373). See also Diana Edwards and Rodney Hampson, English Dry-Bodied Stoneware, Woodbridge, 1998, p. 65, fig. 29.