Archive for the ‘Orpheus Arfaras’ tag

Recommended Reading #2 – Artware to Utility – The story of Modern Ceramic Products and Mingay by Ted Impey

Artware to Utility - The story of Modern Ceramic Products  and Mingay by Ted Impey

Artware to Utility – The story of Modern Ceramic Products and Mingay by Ted Impey

When it comes to Australian pottery books there is a steadily increasing (although still small amount) quantity of publications entering the market place which is great to see. But all too often because these books are privately published they aren’t stocked on any of the large book retailers like Amazon. This means if you don’t know what to look for and where you might not know they exist.

Ted Impey’s stunning monograph Artware to Utility, the story of Modern Ceramic Products (MCP) and Mingay is certainly one of those hidden treasures.

Published in 2012 this 176 page tome is in my opinion the most comprehensive book on the life, times and most importantly for the collector the products of a single commercial pottery in Australia.

Comprehensively researched and illustrated throughout with colour photos of more than 800 pieces from the MCP, Mingay and PGH periods of operation and accompanied by over 100 black and white photos, original price lists, catalogues, advertisements, newspaper clippings, potter’s marks, and foil labels.

It simply cannot be overstated how valuable a reference guide this is for collectors of not only the wares of MCP but also for those with an interest in post war Australian pottery. For me the extensive and well photographed section on the wares produced Orpheus Arfaras alone is worth the price of admission. I confess to doing some serious drooling over those pages!

The book is a limited edition of only 500 and amazingly there is still copies available directly from Ted himself at for $75 plus $10 postage anywhere inside Australia.

In short this book is credit to Ted Impey and his tireless dedication to MCP and it’s story.

This book takes pride of place on my book shelf and is easily on my recommended reading list.


Posted: April 25th, 2014
at 6:36pm by Tim

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Categories: Australian Pottery,Recommended Reading

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My Favourite Pieces #1 – Newtone Koala

One of the few animals in Bakewell’s Newtone range, this cheeky looking fellow would have to be one of my favorite pieces of Australian pottery in my collection,  and not just because I got him for free (he was a birthday present from my girlfriend Sarah). Produced circa 1935, with hand painted details most likely by Daisy Merton and modeled by either Daisy Merton or Jack Moss. This is in my opinion just about the best looking free-standing Koala figure produced by any of  the big Australian names from the 1930’s to the 1950’s hands down.

Most credit goes here to what looks to be the exceptional detailing provided by Daisy Merton. There were two other paintresses working for Bakewell Bros at the time (Joy Yeoman and another who it seems may not have ever signed her work) but as with the eyes being the key to an Orpheus Arfaras MCP Disney figure those stoner eyes and cheeky grin have Daisy’s name written all over them not to mention the fantastic gum-leaf and trunk detailing.

This piece does also come in the standard Newtone green and brown drip glaze combination (if you have seen it in another colour please let me know) and has also been spotted with a Trent Art Ware sticker on it but this is either the result of a sticker swap by an unscrupulous seller or older Bakewell’s stock purchased by Trent when they took over the Newtone line. If any of these were produced during the Trent period in the 1950’s it is most likely the green and brown drip glaze pieces as I think their later wares show they didn’t have the decorating talent available to pull of something like this.

Like with most Australian pottery there are copies about most notably the ones made by both Pates and Diana albeit with a different less complicated and easier to cast base covered in flowers which Newtone or Trent may have produced also. I have been told that Diana worked from the original molds which they purchased from Bakewell’s but at this stage I haven’t been able to confirm this. Strangely I have not seen an Asian copy of this figure but even more strangely is the fact that this piece is original to Bakewells at all given the amount of pieces they copied from Beswick!