Beginning his career as a ceramic painter and designer, Harry Tittensor concentrated on oils and watercolours from 1925. He then specialised in atmospheric topographical subjects, with and without figures, seeing himself as ‘a translator of objects into light and shade, tone and colour’ (Cole, Heap and Lynn, York through the Eyes of the Railways, York: National Railway Museum, 1994, page 41).
Harry Tittensor was born in Burslem, Staffordshire, on 20 April 1887, the son of the potter, Jarvis Tittensor, and his wife Hannah (née Cliffe). He began an apprenticeship with Doulton & Co in 1900, and also received training at Burselm School of Art. Developing into one of the most versatile artists employed by Doulton, he painted figures and landscapes on vases and other ceramics and, helping to establish a new figure department with the art director, Charles Noke, he designed a number of figurines, including The Gainsborough Hat (1915). For many years, he was also a designer with the Chromo Transfer Co in Burslem.
On 25 May 1912, Tittensor married May Wright, daughter of the engineer, Elijah Wright, at Burslem Parish Church.
By that year, he was living at Newport House, Burslem, though by 1914 he had moved to ‘Kingswood’, Southlands Avenue, Wolstanton.
In 1925, Tittensor left Doulton & Co in order to concentrate on his work as a painter in oil and watercolour. Though he essayed a range of subjects, including portraiture and still life, he specialised in architectural and other topographical scenes, both of Britain and Continental. Frequent among these are places in Normandy and Brittany, which he seems to have visited from the mid 1920s. These he exhibited most frequently at the Royal Academy, the Fine Art Society and the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, becoming a member of the last in 1931. He also produced artwork for carriage posters for London and North Eastern Railways. As an educator, he taught at Burslem School of Art and the Wedgwood Institute, and contributed an article on ‘Water-Colour and the Picturesque’ to The Studio in 1935.
Living at the Boat House, Barlaston, by at least 1929, he died at Cheshire Joint Sanatorium in Loggerheads on 19 July 1942, at the age of 55. A memorial exhibition was held at the Russell Gallery of Hanley Museum.
His work is represented in the collections of Stoke-on-Trent Museums.
This entry is indebted to the website www.tittensor.com, which is maintained by Paul and Eileen Tittensor.