Translated to “golden joinery,” Kintsugi (or Kintsukuroi, which means “golden repair”) is the centuries-old Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with a special […]
It was in 1751 that Dr. John Wall founded a porcelain factory that would become known as the Royal Worcester Porcelain factory. Early Worcester marks are very rare, with typically a crescent mark. These marks were irregular and a bit haphazard. It wasn’t until 1862 that the Royal Worcester marks were first introduced. At first, the company used the letters of the alphabet to designate the year of manufacture. After they had used up the letters, the Royal Worcester introduced a fairly simple code using dots for the years. By the 1980s, some of the pieces made had elaborate marks. They include not only the issue numbers but also the designers’ names.
Arthur was the third of nine children born to Hannah and Benjamin Barlow. Arthur and his sister, Hannah, were both students at the Lambeth School of Art, and they were among a group of students who were taken on by Doulton’s. Arthur soon showed his talent and designed beautiful jugs and vases, usually with naturalistic swirling foliate designs. Sadly, Arthur died young, but because of the relatively short time he worked with Royal Doulton, there are comparatively fewer pieces surviving than those of his sisters. The rarity and beauty of his pieces make them highly desirable additions to any collection.
Premier Pottery, a leading Australian Pottery Brand, was established by Reg Hawkins and David Dee in Melbourne, Australia. The initial trade names given to the business were “PPP” (Premier Pottery Preston), then “Remued”. The pottery’s naming concept was different than other potteries of that time, which went by the names of their owners. But because of this concept, it would seem that the pottery produced factory-made works. To assure their customers that their works were handcrafted, they named the pottery “Pamela”. Pamela Pottery paid more attention to creating potteries of various kinds that were mainly ornamental, as opposed to many potteries that were focused on producing various functional works.
Arthur Merric Boyd started his pottery adventure by watching his parents, who were outstanding potters and painters themselves. Even though Arthur was mainly known as a painter, his brand, known as the AMB brand of pottery, stands out as a leading brand of pottery in Australia. Arthur Merric Boyd (AMB) Pottery was established by Arthur and two of his colleagues. In 1958, Arthur went to England to become one of the most renowned Australian painters in England. Since he was not as active in pottery making any more, he eventually closed down the pottery. Nevertheless, Arthur’s name lived on and remains popular to this day thanks to his two colleagues.
Nellie McCredie started out as an outstanding female architect, but her career was short-lived as there were not many female architects at the time. Nevertheless, it didn’t stop Nellie’s passion to create suitable dwellings. Her academic achievement and her ambitions pushed her far. Although she accomplished many projects, only a handful of them could be linked to her as designers seldom signed their work. Nellie gained interest in pottery and learned it from Lewis Jarvis Harvey himself. She went on to become a professional potter and even ran a pottery studio. Despite the circumstances of her time, Nellie made her mark in both pottery and architecture.
Una Deerbon can be said to be a painter, a fashion designer, a potter, and a general artist. She attended a few schools of art where she learned painting. She also partook in needlework classes where she developed an interest in fashion design. She designed clothes for David Jones department store and later opened a fashion studio. Una did exhibitions for needlework and pottery in which she showcased over 200 pieces of pottery. Her handwork possessed a delicate appeal, with a fine combination of colours and designs. It also has a touch of humour and exuberance. What made Una remarkable is her unique versatility in the art industry.
Thomas George Dufty Bosley started making pottery when he was nine years old, following in the footsteps of his father and his uncle, who later became his stepfather. He was known for his work of glazed frogs, gnomes, and the glazed Beethoven Bust when he was working as an apprentice with his stepfather. When Thomas George had nothing to fall back on during the depression in 1929, he bought pottery materials from where he formerly worked. From this, he was able to start his own pottery. Bosley Ware Pottery would later be known for its brilliant glazing with bright colours and figurines of animals.
Frederick Marshall, a stonemason, and Elizabeth Vasler had a son whom they named Mark. Little did they know, Mark was to become one of the most creative and innovative craftsmen of Royal Doulton. Like George Tinworth, Mark trained at the Lambeth School of Art. For a short period of time, he worked for the Martin Brothers, where he developed his taste for weird and wonderful designs like his reptiles and dragons. Mark brought his personal style with him when he joined Royal Doulton. He drew inspiration from different sources such as literature, discoveries made at the time, and even his wife.
Brownie Downing earned a name in the Australian art world by bringing to life the magic of childhood to generations of children and adults to come, both in Australia and overseas. She got her inspiration through her extensive travels, where she was able to create a portfolio of paintings of children of many different nationalities. She made some Aboriginal studies, which in turn influenced her works in art. Each time Aboriginal characters were displayed on items such as porcelain dishes and wall plaques, people loved it. Brownie also painted prolifically and had many originals sold. In fact, some of them were printed and marketed all over Australia.
Even from a young age, Charles Noke already showed a keen interest in the design and manufacture of the porcelain. This was noticed by his father’s friend, Mr. Binns, and allowed him to wander in the Worcester factory. This whole experience would then become Charles’s defining moment. Charles gradually built up his own reputation as a stylish modeller of figurines and vases and showing them at national exhibitions. This caught the attention of Royal Doulton’s director at the time. He was offered a post as chief designer, and would then become the premier modeller and designer of Royal Doulton. Because of him, Doulton series, new glazes and limited editions were introduced.
Diana Pottery Pty Ltd became the most popular Australian ceramics manufacturer between the 1940s and the 1960s. It started out from young Eric Lowe’s passion with his entrepreneurial ambition to import cut glass and crockery from Czechoslovakia and Germany. Back then, the company was actually called Eric C Lowe Pty Ltd. The name Diana was inspired by Jack Christopher’s interest in Greek mythology. And since the wares from the pottery at this stage were unmarked, one of their workers suggested that DIANA be embossed into the base of their moulds to identify their work. Now, the company is well known for slip-ware, kitchenware, hand-painted pottery and ovenware.
Among Royal Doulton’s artists, Leslie was the free spirit. His independent nature is what gave his art variety. His dream was to own a small studio where he could sculpt clay of figures of his own designs. After realizing that his dream was out of his reach, Leslie and his brother bought land to farm. Unfortunately, the soil was poor and the farm was isolated. It wasn’t always bad news for Leslie though, as he found clay on their land, and he modelled with them whenever he could. With Charles Noke’s help, Leslie would later become one of Royal Doulton’s regular and prolific modellers.
Before John Castle Harris became a potter, he was a printer and a volunteer soldier. His career as a soldier was cut short when he was declared medically unfit to fight after sustaining a gunshot wound to his right thigh. He went back to Australia and sold punched and embossed leather tablecloths as a means of livelihood. Harris developed his pottery skills by attending clay modelling lessons with Una Deerbon and working informally at the Deerbon Pottery School as well as the Premier Pottery at Preston. John’s dislike of the handcraft ideals of the time and his animal motif designs made his works stand out.
Allan James George Lowe trained as a painter before teaching himself pottery. He even built his first kiln with the assistance of an advisor from the Hoffman Potteries. He took more intense pottery classes under the tutelage of Gladys Kelly of the Working Men’s College before he started his potting career full-time. Allan’s earthenware was simple but with sophisticated glazes and minimal decorations. His work was special as it was both influenced by Chinese forms and Aboriginal art. Australia has an indigenous heritage that provides a rich source of inspiration, and this was when Australians were looking for a national cultural identity.
Fowler’s Pottery was founded by Enoch Fowler, an Irish immigrant who arrived in Sydney in 1837. Enoch had a rough start. He lost his family during their voyage to Australia. He also had to change his age just so he can get the government-assisted passage for skilled migrants. However, every cloud has a silver lining. Enoch remarried and had registered the company officially to produce ginger beer bottles, jars, and clay pipes. Fowler’s soon began to mass produce and made products that included edging tiles, bricks, stoneware containers, chimney pots, and laundry tubs. Fowler Potteries is now known as the oldest pottery still in operation in Australia.
Alfred James Pate was growing up with his parents when he developed an interest in the work of art and began creatively making diagrams and carving of things that he liked. This led him to learn the pottery trade at Fowlers Pottery in Marrickville. When he got married, he began making experimental slip pottery in a garage at his backyard and eventually founded Pates Potteries Pty Ltd. After the war, there was an increased demand for decorative pottery. Pates took advantage of this by mass-producing slipware of different colours and sizes. These colourful slip cast domestic wares became the trademark of Pates Potteries and made the company a household name.
The Hoffman Brick and Potteries Limited was one of the largest businesses in Melbourne, producing a variety of decorative wares known as “Melrose Australian Ware”. The Hoffman Company was known for mass producing bricks and entered a period of expansion as soon as the company was established. Their business faced a decline during the 1890s depression, but they joined the Brick Co-operative, which regulated the prices and output of its members’ brickworks. Business picked up as soon as the depression was over. The company then expanded its business interests and bought over a small art-pottery. They eventually became known for their wares, which stood out because of their unique blue and green glaze.