GRACE SECCOMBE: An Australian by Heart

Grace Seccombe Leaf shaped Dish - Photo by Shapiro Auctioneers

Grace Seccombe was also referred to as Gs, Grace Povey Seccombe (1880-1956) — an artist and ceramist. A renowned Australian potter, Grace was born in England. She worked at a pottery located in Burslem, Staffordshire and moved to Australia afterwards. She moved to Australia with her husband who was an architect. Grace’s dad was a potter; obviously, she followed after her dad’s talent and footsteps. Subsequently, the family moved to Sydney in 1902.

Grace’s Education

Scrapbook compiled by Grace Seccombe, Australia, 1920-1950 – Photo by Museum of
Applied Arts
& Sciences | NSW Government

Grace attended Sydney Technical College and studied black and white drawing there. Afterwards, she got married to her husband who was an architect, as noted earlier. In 1926, she started art at a professional level, focusing on the production of hand-modelled earthenware.

The studio she worked from was a modest one — a part of their home back in the Sydney suburb, Eastwood. She worked with the local clay to hand-model and produce her masterpieces that became widely sought-after up to this moment.

Grace Seccombe’s Pottery Works

Grace made dishes, bowls and plates in the 1930s and 1940s. She embellished these items with Aboriginal motifs. In 1930, she joined the Sydney Society of Arts and did exhibitions with the group until 1951. Grace and her husband lived at Eastwood by 1937 and she owned a studio there. The studio was equipped with a kiln. Eastwood is a suburb of Sydney.

Grace Was Notable for Her Hand-Modelled Birds and Animals

Grace Seccombe’s Kookaburra, Australian Pottery C1930s Signed GS – Photo by PicClick

In the 1940s, Grace became popular for her brightly painted, hand-modelled pottery birds and animals. The kookaburras and other birds, as well as animals made in the 1920s, have the mark ‘Australia’ and ‘S’. She modelled a range of Australian fauna for the Sydney Jewellers Prouds Ltd in the 1930s and 1940s — these works are either signed ‘Grace Seccombe Australia’ or initialed ‘GS’ at the base.

In addition, Grace also sold her works via the Blaxland Gallery — the gallery was situated at the former Grace Bros, Broadway. She also sold her items through the Taronga Zoo Gift Shop.

As noted earlier, Grace also made bowls, dishes and plates which she embellished with Aboriginal motifs – this was in the 1930s up to the 1940s. In 1937, her works and designs were hypothetically described to have captured: “the necessary part of the native design entirely that her pottery and ceramic works could likely be the work of a native artist.”

It was said of Grace that she reproduced the native pottery designs with a highly notable fidelity of colour and line from native implements such as paddles, as seen in the Australian Museum. Grace made the decision to engage the varieties of designs only in their appropriate association — to ensure her lovely and graceful, though deliberately primitive art will essentially stay aboriginal.

Tourists from Different Parts of the World Were Endeared to Grace’s Pottery Works

Tourists to Australia bought tons of Seccombe pottery pieces. These were tourists who came to Australia between 1925 through the 1950s. These tourists came from different parts of the world, including the UK and US. As a result, a large number of Seccombe’s pottery pieces are found in the UK, US and other parts of the world.

Up to this moment, classic pottery items collectors are still saying, “We are not tired of collecting Grace’s pieces, in case anyone may still know where we can get more of Grace’s pottery pieces in any part of the globe.”

Another collector said, “Grace’s Koalas, birds, kangaroos and other types of fauna are my favorite pieces, including her kookaburras. I recently collected a stunning, watchful kookaburra made by Grace and would love to collect more of her pieces if I come across any.”

Descriptions of Some of the Most Popular Works of Grace Seccombe

Grace Seccombe Kookaburra c1930’s – PicClick

Grace Seccombe ‘Kookaburra’

This is a popularly sought after Kookaburra made by Grace. The Kookaburra is sitting on a green and brown glazed stump. The wings are tucked in behind. And, underneath the piece is signed ‘Grace Seccombe’ Australia – c1930w.


Yellow Budgerigars pair by Grace Seccombe – Photo by Artnet

Grace Seccombe Glazed Pottery (1880-1956)

This piece features a pair of Budgerigars, perching on a stump of a tree, colored in tons of brown, yellow and green. The piece has the incision “Grace Seccombe/Australia.”




Kookaburras on Fence by Grace Seccombe – Photo by Artnet

Grace Seccombe – Australian, 1880-1956

The piece features kookaburras on Fence. She finished the piece with under-glaze painting, as well as a coloured glaze on earthenware. An inscription on this piece reads, “To You, the open Sliprails and a Waiting friend’. There’s also the artist’s signature impressed to the base of the piece, ‘Grace Seccombe’.


Grace Seccombe Western Rosella – Photo by Antiques Reporter

Grace Seccombe ‘Western Rosella’

The image stands on a tree form frog base. At the base is the signature ‘Australia’.





Grace Seccombe (1880-1956)

This one is an earthenware kookaburra image, glazed. It has an incision on it that reads ‘Grace Seccombe’ and measures 9.6cm in terms of height.

Grace Seccombe (1880-1956)

This glazed earthenware features an image of two kookaburras perched on a fence post. An incision on the item reads, ‘To you the open slip-rail and a waiting friend’. It also has the incision ‘Grace Seccombe’.

Grace Seccombe (1880-1956)

Grace Seccombe (1880-1956) – Photo by Antiques Reporter

This one is a glazed earthen image of a kookaburra perched on a leaf-embellished stump. It has the signature ‘Australia’. It is illustrated: ‘Australian Art Pottery, 1900-1950′, and features the names Keith Free, Kevin Fahy, Andrew Simpson and John Freeland, Casuarina Press 2004.

Indeed, Grace’s works are masterpieces that will easily gatch the attention of any art lover. These items are presently displayed on large online retail sites such as Ebay, as well as other online spots. Some of the items such as the ones outlined above are not for sale. Pottery collectors highly commend Grace’s graceful and stunning pottery works.

Grace Seccombe’s Death

On the 25th of February 1956, Grace Seccombe joined her ancestors at the age of 76. Although dead, her classic works and pottery masterpieces still speak till date.