Grace Povey Seccombe may be a renowned Australian artist and ceramist, but she wasn’t born in Australia. She moved from England with her husband who was an architect. Her knack for pottery was inherited from her dad who was also a potter himself. Grace studied black and white drawing at Sydney Technical College. She worked from a quite modest studio. She worked with the local clay to hand-model and eventually produce the masterpieces that became widely sought-after up to this day, even among tourists. Her most notable works were her brightly painted, hand-modelled pottery birds and animals. She also made bowls, dishes, and plates which she embellished with Aboriginal motifs.
Born to a bootmaker, Douglas Snelling already had a design business at 16 and was employing other boys. He had a passion for Hollywood films and his dream was fulfilled when he travelled to Los Angeles to work as a freelancer for film studios, doing sketches of stars onset. He became a popular writer and cartoonist in New Zealand. In 1940, Snelling moved to Sydney where he would spend most of his life. He began designing some of Sydney’s shop fit-outs after World War II. He then developed a range of furniture, which was considered the first modernist chairs designed by an Australian. Thus, the “Snelling Line” was born.
Fritz Karl Heinz Lowenstein was born in Upper Silesia, Germany. After making it to England to escape from Nazis, he arrived in Australia aboard the Dunera. He began selling wooden dinnerware despite having very little knowledge of wood. He met Ernest Rodeck, who was making pencil propellers at that time. It was this fateful moment that they struck a partnership and opened their own small workshop. Fred Ward, a designer of Myer Emporium, convinced Lowen to make chairs after noticing his craftsmanship. Fred Lowen then refined his skill. He won several awards like the Dunhill Design Award in 1970. Today, his designs have reclaimed the spotlight alongside those of notable designers like Boyd, Featherston and Parker.
Fred Lowen and Ernest Rodeck never imagined they would become founders of one of the most sought-after brands for modern furniture when they first came to Australia. Being Jewish, they escaped from Nazi Europe and arrived on the prison ship Dunera. The name Fler is a combination of the initials of their names. Fler furniture leaned towards the modern styles and gradually took the limelight from the cumbersome and dark English style furniture. The growing interest in mid-century furniture has allowed Fler furniture back into the spotlight. Up to this day, their pieces are being sought out by antique sellers and restorers.
In 1856, another talented daughter was born to Benjamin Iram and Hannah Barlow. Florence Barlow would follow her sister’s steps and become one of the most successful artists working at Royal Doulton. When she and her sister, Hannah, joined Royal Doulton together, they decided that Hannah would concentrate on animal motifs and Florence would specialise in flowers and birds. Unlike her sister, Florence used a technique which involved building up layer after layer of translucent slip to create a pattern that stood up in relief from the surface, also known as pâte-sur-pâte. Anyone who owns one of her pieces is very lucky to have a beautiful piece of pottery indeed.
In 1851, a little girl was born to a very talented family. Her name is Hannah Bolton Barlow. She studied under John Sparks, who was a close friend of Henry Doulton. Hannah became the first woman artist to be employed by Doulton potteries. Her love for animals and her knowledge about them is a strong feature of her work. Despite losing the use of her right hand, she learnt to become equally proficient in the use of her left hand. She could even produce up to 20 high-quality pots in a day. Today, her work is in demand due to the unique style and quality of her work.
A partnership between Alf Dagger and Jack Parker is what started Parker Furniture. However, it was Jack’s eldest son, Tony Parker, who turned the company into an icon. While working for his father during the day, Tony took night courses for industrial design. He drew plans for homes and interiors. He honed his skills in managing a team and measuring the success of a design during his stay in London. With Tony at the helm, Parker Furniture incorporated the innovations and iconic designs of the times, but the company still made certain that their products maintained the same quality and attention to detail their brand was known for.
John McHugh particularly established his pottery at the Sandhill with his three oldest sons to take advantage of the abundant source of clay. His pottery produced a wide range of wares and became a household name. It made a giant contribution to Tasmania’s growing prosperity. McHugh’s is one of the potteries that made their wares easily recognisable by marking them with features such as their name, also known as “Autographed Pottery”. World War 2 may have caused their eventual closure, but their wares have become astonishing and desirable collectibles of great value today.
Did you know that the house on Walsh Street was originally designed by Robin Boyd for his own family? This house is considered, both nationally and internationally, as an example of modern Australian architecture. Having designed the house, the influential Victorian architect thought it was only fitting that he creates the furniture as well. Each was masterfully crafted to be beautiful, yet comfortable and built for everyday use. Up until today, each piece of furniture from the Boyd Collection is made from Australian hardwood and Australian wool fabrics. With the help of the original drawings, each item faithfully follows the exact specifications and functional solutions that Boyd imposed on his originals.
Aspiring to be a poet, Cecil John Brack hadn’t decided to become an artist until he came across a reproduction of Vincent van Gogh’s The Night Café in a local bookshop. His art studies were interrupted in World War II, but he returned to his studies after the war. During his time in the army, Brack developed his artistic skills by creating drawings and sketches of his comrades. His painting, The New House, typified the culture of the Menzies Era. This was regarded as a “golden age” for Australia. His final work was purchased by the Art Gallery of New South Wales and was a finalist for the Archibald Prize.
George Tinworth’s story was a story of determination, courage and exceptional talent. As a boy, he already showed his talent in art by carving butter stamps. His neighbour noticed it and suggested he study at an art school. So when he got older, he pawned his overcoat just to pay the fee for evening classes to study pottery. George began his career with Royal Doulton when John Sparkes advised Henry Doulton to hire him. He was making a name for himself by becoming the premier artist for Royal Doulton. George’s name lives on, not only in his works, but he also has a street named after Him – “Tinworth Street” in Lambeth.
The term “Mid-Century Modern” was already being used as early as the mid-50s, but it wasn’t until author Cara Greenberg mentioned it in her 1983 book, as a descriptor of the design aesthetics at the time, that it gained attention. The term is now used to define a design movement originating from a bygone era, specifically those from the mid-40s to the early 70s. This was due to the renewed interest in furniture designs which began in the early 20th century. Despite the advent of postmodern aesthetics, mid-century modern never truly went into a decline. Nowadays, mid-century pieces are still highly sought-after in auctions and sales. Even authorised reproductions are in high demand.
Lagarostrobos franklinii is a species of conifer native to the wet southwestern corner of Tasmania, Australia. It is often known as the Huon pine or Macquarie pine, although it is actually a podocarp, not a true pine. Join Jason and discover three ways this beautiful timber has been used by cabinet makers.
From 1932 up till the 1950s, her regular exhibitions at the Sedon Galleries attracted mind-blowing reviews and her natural talent was aided and developed by academic training. She was a member of the Victorian Artists Society after becoming an established water colourist and graphic artist adn in those early days when radio and programs aired on it were popular, Marguerite gave lectures on design. Before withdrawing from ceramics work, Marguerite produced ceramics for the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games Arts Festival. And her works are highly valued and sort after by collectors.
The Tasmanian chair is delicately balanced and finely worked and displays a congruence with Sheraton’s finest aspirations for chair making. All of the decoration owes its origins to Hope – no other chair recorded has the fineness of detail and superior design, form and construction of this chair.
Wendt’s silverwork included extravagant naturalistic creations, stylish domestic designs and pieces which showed restrained Regency taste and ranks with the finest produced in Australia in the second half of the nineteenth century. To this day his works are highly sought after by silver and Australiana collectors.
Today, Arne Jacobsen is remembered primarily for his furniture designs. However, he believed he was first and foremost […]
At the end of the Second World War, designers led the trend for futuristic designs in a bid to forget the horrors of the past. Of all the designers that grew to prominence in that era, few can surpass the legacy left by Grant Featherston. In 1947, Featherston launched his Relaxation Series. This series was designed to be aesthetically pleasing and timeless without sacrificing comfort. This cemented Grant Featherston as a household name