Vintage books, old china, antiques; maybe I love old things so much because I feel impermanent myself. Josh Lanyon, Romance author
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.
Eero Saarinen was a Finnish American architect and designer. His famous designs would include the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri and the Womb Chair. This neo-futuristic designer started receiving critical recognition when he was working with his father. He then went on and won several awards. The most notable of these awards was from an architectural competition for what would later be known as the Gateway Arch National Park. Aside from his architectural works, Eero also designed furniture, oftentimes including them in his architectural designs of building interiors. Despite his relatively short career, Eero is an indelible mark on architecture and his furniture designs are highly sought after up to this day.
Le Corbusier was born Charles-Edouard Jeanneret in Switzerland. He eventually acquired a French citizenship and got the pseudonym: Le Corbusier. Even though Jeanneret had no formal training as an architect, he designed numerous structures throughout Europe. Following his father’s footsteps, he first studied watch engraving under Charles L’Eplattenier. Ironically, it was his teacher who got him into architecture. When he moved to Paris, he became busy with exhibits, lectures, publishing books, and architectural projects. Le Corbusier conceptualized new ways to classify furniture. Despite the controversies of his socio-political ties, one could argue that he played an immense role in the birth of modern design and architecture.
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.
Of the ten Lindsay siblings, Norman Lindsay was one of the five who shared a common interest in art. He and his brother Lionel were especially distinguished. Norman taught himself to draw after being forced to remain in the house due to a blood disorder. He was captivated by Solomon J. Solomon’s Ajax and Cassandra when he first saw it at the Ballarat Fine Arts Gallery. This would become the source of Norman’s interest in nudes in his art. As an avid reader, he was also influenced by Nietzsche’s philosophy. Despite the controversy surrounding some of his works, Norman’s art style became more sophisticated and he became the highest-earning Australian artist before WWI.