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.
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.
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.
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.
The Florenz Pottery Pty Ltd has one of the humblest beginnings. Florence Maude Williams began her pottery work in a garage. Her husband built an oil-fired kiln for her and their daughter also worked at the pottery. It was a family business. Like other pottery companies during the Second World War, Florenz Pottery gained government contracts to war-related works, so little decorative ware is found around the time. After the war, the company made all kinds of hand-thrown and slip cast ceramics. Florenz also raised many well-known potters. After Florence’s death, her husband sold the pottery, and the company experienced several management changes until its closure in 1980.
Besides being an influential potter, Annie Mitchell was also an influential teacher. In 1929, she went to Central Technical College at Brisbane where she studied under L.J. Harvey. Because Harvey so much believed in the hand-built pottery method, Annie also adopted this method of creating potteries. After studying under Harvey, she came back to Adelaide and set up her own pottery school. Her pots were quite distinctive in their style and featured “uneven walls” with embellishments like leaves and gumnuts. Like other notable Australian potters, Annie Mitchell’s pottery pieces are valued at great prices. Until now, collectors from all around the world are on the lookout for these rare pieces.
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.
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.
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.
His outstanding work of his stoneware fountain, whiskey still worm and two terracotta fire grate backs catapulted his career.