Archive for the ‘Trent Art Ware’ tag

My Favourite Pieces #3 – Newtone Mugs

As I have discussed before on this blog my great love when it comes to Australian pottery has to be the Newtone Art Ware and Trent Art Ware lines produced by the Bakewell Bros’ pottery from the early 1930’s through to the early 1950’s.

Although my collecting of Sydney (and indeed most non Tasmaniann) potteries has slowed to an absolute trickle since moving to Tasmania I have still managed to acquire close to 200 pieces of Newtone/Trent over the past 12 years.

Among this almost 200 pieces there is just about everything from figural pieces, vases (way too many), advertising/salesman’s/souvenir  pieces, through to utilitarian domestic wares.

It is this last category of utilitarian wares though that I find most interesting as so little of it appears on the market. In fact the very idea that Bakewells would choose to produce utilitarian wares in their art ware lines is perhaps a little interesting if not puzzling in it’s self.

It is because of the both the rarity and the fact that they don’t really fit with the majority of Newtone and Trent marked pieces I own that these three mugs rank quite highly amongst my favorite in the 2 art wares lines.

3 Bakewells mugs from the Newtone and Trent Art Wares lines

3 Bakewells mugs from the Newtone and Trent Art Wares lines

The left most mug carries the Trent Mark and the other two the Newtone “Harbor Bridge” style mark of the mid to late 1930’s.

Although I am sure there must be more of these mugs from the Art Wares lines floating around I have only seen 4 of them (3 of which I now own and 1 of which I think lives in WA).

Curiously there are also Tea sets (teapot, sugar bowl, and milk jug) made by Bakewells under the Newtone banner, none of which match the glaze colouring of the mugs I have seen.

If you have any Newtone or Trent Art Ware mugs or other interesting pieces I’d love to hear from you.

Posted: October 27th, 2013
at 4:16pm by Tim

Tagged with , , ,

Categories: Australian Pottery,Favourite Things

Comments: 4 comments

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 …

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!