Archive for the ‘Bits and Pieces’ Category

Bits and Pieces #2 – Being Patient

While looking through the National Library’s Trove Website for newspaper articles on the Tasmanian potter Maude Poynter I came across an article from the Mercury dated April 5th 1924 describing an exhibition of Miss Poynters works at Hobart Town Hall.

The article goes to great lengths to describe the works on display by both Miss Poynter and Miss Mace (Violet Mace) that it really makes you wish they had taken a photo or two. Particularly of the Mah Jong set created by Miss Mace (where is it today?!!!).

One thing that struck me though was that in 1924 Miss Poynter was planning to upgrade to an electric furnace once the wires finally reached her home town of Bothwell in Tasmania. This struck a particular chord with me as a recent migrant to a semi rural part of the Apple Isle who is currently waiting on a cable (albeit a different kind of cable) to arrive in our town.

The modern day cable I speak of is the the long awaited roll out of the Government’s National Broadband Network (NBN). The first stage is complete and the lucky few at Midway Point have had their services switched on and are already enjoying high speed internet goodness. From what we can tell Kingston is next on the list for the roll out but that’s still more than 40kms “down the road” from us so we aren’t holding our breath for connection any time soon.

However, we do have an internet connection, we just want a better one. We don’t have to make do or find alternate ways of doing our business it just takes a a couple of seconds longer (or minutes depending on if the fog is blocking our wireless signal) to get things done compared to out big city counterparts or indeed the lucky few at Midway. I don’t know how we would cope waiting for something as important as electricity to makes its way this far south.

A year later though Maude returns to Hobart to hold another Exhibition with Miss Mace and in the Mercury article dated March 25th 1925 it is noted that “in view of the near approach of the supply of power to Bothwell some beautifully designed electric reading lamps were objects of special interest.”.   To put this into a little more perspective, Hobart had its first electric street lamps switched on around 1897. Even my old home town of Hurstville in New South Wales had power by 1910 and was working to get the lines as far south as Sutherland by 1912.

But still Miss Poynter waits…

In June 1928 however, luck finally turns Maude’s way and we see in the June 22nd edition of the Examiner the final approval for connection of electricity to the Ratho pottery at Bothwell was granted.

Maude Poynter moved to Ratho at Bothwell in 1918 and had to wait 10 years to get her lights put on!

If Maude can wait 10 years I guess I’ll have to learn to be a little more patient waiting for slightly better internet…

A photo of Maude Poynter at work in her pottery taken from the Mercury’s “Woman’s Realm” supplement dated October 16th 1935. Interestingly, Maude is still using her old pedal powered potters wheel. Hopefully she has the electric light on though!



POTTER’S ANCIENT ART. (1924, April 5). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860-1954), p. 6. Retrieved July 10, 2011, from

GENERAL NEWS ITEMS. (1925, March 21). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860-1954), p. 13. Retrieved July 10, 2011, from

BOTHWELL COUNCIL. (1928, June 22). Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900-1954), p. 8 Edition: DAILY. Retrieved July 10, 2011, from

Photo of Maude Poynter

Posted: July 10th, 2011
at 11:58am by Tim

Tagged with , , ,

Categories: Australian Pottery,Bits and Pieces

Comments: 1 comment

Bits and Pieces #1 – Search Queries

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been over 3 months since my last post. I do feel a little ashamed but I have good  reason for it. In the last 3 months I have started a new job all while preparing for our new shed being built soon, which in itself has meant many hours of sawing, smashing, digging and jackhammering for us both!

Anyway, enough of all that and onto the topic of my first post in 3 months, Search Queries …

In reacquainting myself with the goings on of my website I was checking out the statistical data (number of hits, country of origin of the visitors, most popular articles etc). Among this overload of information, what I found most interesting was HOW people were finding my website on search engines like Google. Most come via rather simple searches like “Cula Pottery” or “Florenz Pottery”. Others, however, “ask” Google an entire question to find their way to my site like “How to value Australian Pottery?”.

So, I thought I would go through a sampling of these “questions” that helped people find my site and see if I can answer some of them for you all.

“Bakewell Newtone Date Range”

The “Newtone” range of art wares were in production from the early 1930’s until the late 1940’s (although I’m not sure much would have been produced during the war years). In the early 1950’s the name (but not anything else) of this range was changed to “Trent Art Ware”. Geoff Ford suggests that after the close of Bakewells in 1955 the Trent name and indeed line was continued by former employees in their backyard. At this point in time I’m not sure what, if any, of the old Newtone/Trent line was produced in that Bexley backyard as the mid to late 50’s Trent Art Ware pieces are unique to those years in production method, design, catalogue numbers and decoration.

Having said all that, as far as I know there are no factory production line Newtone or Trent pieces marked with a date so finding a more accurate cutoff point is a bit hard. I do have a workman’s piece of Newtone dated 1937 and a piece from Bakewells Beulah Ware line dated “Xmas 1938” so it’s safe to assume those lines continued up to and past those dates.

“Everything about Trent Art Ware Pottery”

I don’t know everything about Trent Art Ware and what I do know is mostly written in the paragraph above. Information is very scant and the majority of the people involved are disappearing rapidly.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, if you know anyone who worked for Bakewell Brothers or Trent Art Ware in Bexley or have any information on any era of production please contact me through this website as I am desperate for information!

“How to know if it is MCP pottery?”

I can only assume this is in regard to the Disney range produced by MCP in the 1950’s as for the most part, MCP is fairly well marked.

I have heard about people who can ID an MCP Disney piece by sticking their finger inside the drain hole and all manner of things. The thing that no novice collector wants to hear though is that at this point in time there is no easy answer and it is mostly research and experience which will ID an unmarked piece. There is some obvious colour differences between the American produced pieces and some models were only produced in Australia, which makes it easier. There is a blog compiling MCP Disney pieces which is by far and away the best visual reference I have come across in the public domain and it should be a great help to most.

“How to value Australian Pottery?”

A little bit of a how long is a piece of string type question …

Generally speaking though it’s like anything else – it’s a combination of factors that makes one piece worth more than another. For example a big misconception is that rarity alone makes something valuable. So, let’s knock that one on the head right now. There are plenty of very rare items that have no value at all because they just aren’t desirable or widely collected.

BUT, if you have a rare item by a desirable maker in good condition the outlook is a little rosier.

Good places to find out more about the value of your item for free could be the eBay completed items search or a reputable auction house.

“Newtone pottery the biggest hand painted vase”

The tallest hand painted Newtone vase I know of is about 11 inches or 28cm high (depending on how many candles are on your cake).

In fact 28cm is about the tallest Newtone vase I have seen full-stop and I believe this is about as big as they come. I have seen a hand painted vase by Daisy Merton which resides in the Merton family collection which stands about 50cm high but I don’t believe the work is on a Newtone blank like the majority of her Ceramic works.

“What is the difference between Studio Anna and Florenz Pottery?”

The short answer? Plenty!

I can only assume this query comes from eBay’s “Studio Anna, Florenz” sub category which to be honest is a complete mystery to me too!

Both companies had a long and distinguished career but to my knowledge were never linked.

Studio Anna (or more correctly Anna Studio) was owned and operated continuously under the same name by Karel Jungvirt and Toni Coles from 1953 to 1999.

Florenz has a somewhat more complex history starting with Florence Williams in the 1930’s and having a connection in its later stages with K.C. Industries (Casey Ware).

For more detailed information on both potteries see pages 44 and 70 of Dorothy Johnston’s “The People’s Potteries”.

That’s all I’ve got time for right now but hope I’ve been of some help to someone …