Archive for the ‘Pates’ tag

Recommended Reading #1 – The People’s Potteries

Image courtesy of Dorothy Johnston

Image courtesy of Dorothy Johnston

Published in 2002, the result of nearly 10 years research, Dorothy Johnston’s first book “The People’s Potteries” certainly makes it to my recommended reading list for anyone collecting post-war Australian pottery. This 216 page hardcover book tells the stories of 24 of the most important and prolific semi-commercial and hobby potteries which came into being in Australia immediately after the second World War.

With this book, Dorothy tells the stories of the people behind these post-war potteries. Much of the information contained in the book is “from the horse’s mouth” (so to speak) and is taken directly from conversations with the potters and their relatives themselves. This book is certainly a testament to Dorothy’s diligence and thorough research and that, I think, is what really sets this book apart from others in the field.

The book tells the stories of Studio Anna, Brownie Downing, Casey, Cula, Diana, Delamere, Etta Easton, Studio Fisher, Florenz (Florence Williams), Nell Holden, Kalmar (AACP), Kemety, Little Sydney, Martin Boyd Pottery, Meroh, Daisy Merton, Geoffrey Merton, Nell McCredie, Modern Ceramic Products (MCP), Pates, Rohova, Grace Seccombe, Terra Ceramics, Vande, Laurie Fluss and others.

There are also chapters dedicated to the effect that imports had on these small businesses, themes and decoration, as well as a general guide to value. Not only that but the book is also richly illustrated with around 500 images including 70 colour plates, and reproductions of six original sales catalogues from Studio Anna, Diana, Studio Fisher, MCP, Pates, and Vande.

And now for the good news, unlike the majority of books on the subject of Australian pottery this book is still in print and available direct from the author herself through her website for only $100 + $10 postage and handling or only $140 including free postage when purchased together with her second book “More People’s Potteries” (which I will cover in a later installment of “Recommended Reading”).

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!