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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.