PAMELA POTTERY: Name Changer, Game Changer

PPP Premier Pottery Preston squat vase & milk jug both dribble glazed - Photo by Mossgreen Auctions
Premier Pottery Preston Vase , ca. 1938 – Photo by Artnet

The name “Pamela” was a name given to an Australian brand of pottery, originating from Preston – Melbourne in Australia; and is referred to as Pamela Ware.

Premier Pottery, a leading Australian Pottery Brand, was established in the year 1929 in Melbourne. Reg Hawkins and David Dee collaborated as potters in opening this pottery. The initial trademarks or trade names given to the business were “PPP”, then “Remued”, and then “Pamela”.

The Premier Pottery was established at a time when many potteries focused on producing various functional works like tiles for roofs and floors, as well as bricks, and other building materials, but ornamental ware was not considered as important. However, the Premier Pottery, also known as Pamela Pottery, had something entirely different in focus. They paid more attention to creating potteries of various kinds that were mainly ornamental.

The pottery name changes

PPP polychrome drip glazed squat vase – Photo by Leonard Joel Pty. Ltd.

“PPP” (Premier Pottery Preston) was the initial trade name given to the pottery when first established in 1929. It went by that trade name until the owners decided that it should be changed. And then by the year 1933, they came up with the name “Remued”; but rather than change it entirely, they thought to merge it with the original name instead, perhaps to maintain the patronage of those who already knew the first name that it went by (PPP).

The PPP Remued Pottery, as it was now called, was of a different naming concept than other potteries of that time – that usually went by the names of their owners, or their owner’s relative (Somehow, it could always be traced to someone around them by the name). In the time when handcrafted items were of higher value, and higher priced, it appeared as though this pottery company produced factory made works, rather than handcrafted works, because of the naming concept that was not linked to any professional potter in any way. The owners of the pottery then came up with yet another name – “Pamela”. This was at about the same period that the name “Remued” was introduced. This was to further assure their customers and prospective customers, that their works were handcrafted and not factory produced (as was the belief). They went by this brand name for only about one year. And in addition, their items were specially marked – “Hand Made”.

J332N Backstamp on 1930s Preston Premier Pottery ‘Remued’ jug – Photo by newlyn.antiques | SmugMug

From the year 1933 when the brand name “Remued” was conceived, it only became actively used from 1934, and from this time, it was used exclusively.

The renaming to “Remued” was initiated at the period of the death of David Dee, one of the founding owners of the pottery. After the death of David Dee, his co-founding owner Reg Hawkins got some financial support from his wife to be Noni Deumer to upgrade the pottery, which they did. With this new development, Noni Deumer became a part of the pottery, as the name given to it (“Remued”) was her surname spelt backwards (Deumer – Remued). By this time, the name was fully adopted.

Remued Pottery

REMUED Ware large jug with branch handle, with gumnuts and leaves in green and brown on deep red ground, 1935-1950 – Photo by National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

“Remued” pottery was usually known for its unique drip-glaze design. Their pieces were so often described as “drip-glazed”. The design characterized a lot of their work, so much that people used that same term to describe even other potter’s works that had a similar design, or resemblance (It was termed “van Briggle remued”), although the term originally belonged to the works of Premier Pottery Preston (“PPP”), of Melbourne, Australia, or Pamela, or Remued, as it were.

“Remued” pottery, also known as Premier Pottery Preston, came up with lines of pottery that they branded “PPP” and “Pamela”, especially. Their work was in high demand, also highly valued, and highly priced. Some exceptional works of theirs were going for thousands of dollars per piece.

Their works were made and numbered in shapes, and accordingly. Premier Pottery Preston did not keep a proper inventory of their works, but they are seen and recognized for their unique drip glaze design.

The Pamela

Pamela Pottery jug with applied gumnuts and leaf – Photo by Carter’s Price Guide to Antiques and Collectables

In Premier Pottery Preston’s (PPP) bid to improving their customer base and holding those customers and prospects who presumed that their work was factory made rather than handcrafted, they signed their pottery pieces as “Hand Made”. As is the usual practise in the pottery industry, potters sign, and may date their works. Premier Pottery Preston sometimes hand-sign their pieces as “PPP”, or “Remued”, and when the name Pamela was used, some of their pieces were signed “Pamela”. These signatures were either hand-signed or foil stamped with foil stickers. Some of the Pamela pieces were hand-signed (that is, incised) “Hand Made” at the bottom of the pottery piece. Even the foil stamps had “Hand Made” inscribed on them. This was around 1933 and 1934.

The Pamela wares had the drip-glazed designs and were almost indistinguishable from the other pieces that were named Remued, and Premier Pottery Preston (PPP). They were all crafted around the same period and were identified by their glossy-glaze.

Some of the differences that were later on introduced were that most of the Premier Pottery Preston (PPP) designs included dully-glazed designs.

Other designs that were introduced that told some of them apart was that the applied gumnut and gumleaf designs were cast on shapes.

Pamela Ware small jug with applied handles in green and pink glazes, 1934 – Photo by National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

“Pamela”, as a brand name of the “PPP”, did not last very long, and was soon replaced in a matter of months after it was introduced. It had mostly designs of shapes, and so, the “Pamela” shapes designs may not be that commonly seen.

The pottery introduced a numbering arrangement a while later, and by number 31, the “Pamela” brand name was no longer in use. This was in 1934. “Pamela” however did not indicate the size of the item or decoration by suffixes, unlike the “Remued” brand name. The various versions that had the same shapes were indicated with a different number.