Collecting art attests to the culture and spirit of our time-it enriches our life and makes it better. Thomas Shao, President of Modern Media Group and Collector
Only a few people can be easily identified with dark fantasy, surrealist, figurative or abstract art besides Peter Booth. The intense emotional power of often dark narratives and esoteric symbolism in his work were defined by the horrors of World War II. His work was also inspired by other artists and authors like Goya, Dostoyevsky, and even the Bible. The most peculiar inspiration of them all were the visions he reportedly had seen from a young age. The hybrid apocalyptic monsters reflected on his works were represented by these dreams. His works reveal the violent nature of mankind, but they also show that nature can heal itself.
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.