I have started up a new category of posts to this site for “Unidentified” pieces in the hope that eventually someone recognises the maker.
Often the country of origin can by identified, sometimes by style, sometimes by technique or decoration…… but sometimes that is where the trail ends.
Here is the first, a piece which appears to be Italian – but could also be West German. A slip cast, and hand painted vase, 17cm tall. There is a stamped number in the base of the clay, but it is not clear enough to read. The style of numbering though looks Italian.
I came across this very smart modernist looking Noritake Japan vase recently. It is a very impressive piece, about 25cm tall, in a stylised “tree trunk” form popular in the 1950s and 1960s. It has a timeless colour scheme and pattern, but its mark indicates it was produced from around 1953.
This pattern was never named or assigned a pattern number, which was not unusual for this era, and I have been unable to find any other examples of either the shape or pattern on any other Nortiake pieces.
As with all Noritake of this era, the quality and finish is very high.
Its always interesting how things pop up out of nowhere …in multiples. A few weeks ago I found THIS piece by Italian maker Fratelli Fanciullacci…and last week I found another from the same series at an auction. Its quite a rare design by this maker and the chance of finding another so soon even rarer.
This quite large bottle form features the same bright and bold cloisonné or stained glass style pattern, hand painted in bright multiple colours, outlined in white tube-lining onto the piece with the same matt brown, oxide washed, brown coloured and carved faux woodgrain pattern.
Inside again is an intense and vibrant lime green gloss glaze. The only difference between the two pieces is the carved treatment which is carried over onto the base with this example.
I discovered this striking large piece by South Australian Potter Rhonda Boehm recently. It is signed Rhonda Longbottom (her married name, used early in career) indicating it was made in the early to mid 1970s when she had just begun her career as a potter in the Barossa Valley.
It is a substantial piece around 25cm tall x 15cm diameter. Inside it is glazed with a glossy black glaze, and the outside has been iron oxide decorated to accentuate the impressed design. The iron oxide would have been applied to the bisque fire pot, then wiped back, leaving it in the deeper parts creating this effect which was a prevalent look of Australian pottery in the 1970s into the 1980s. The large ridges down the outside appear to have been impressed with a thumb mark while the clay was still wet.
Rhonda Boehm, 1970s
Rhonda Boehm, 1970s
Rhonda Boehm, 1970s
Rhonda Boehm, 1970s – Signed Rhonda Longbottom
Wax resist on pottery is a technique whereby wax is used to prevent glazes or slips from adhering onto the clay body or previous coating of glaze when a second or third layer is applied. The wax “resists” the second glaze from adhering, allowing the painted design to show. Japanese potters call the technique “Ronuki”
The technique often results in glaze beading of the overlayed colour, which adds to the decorative effect of the technique. Beautiful effects are possible with the combining of glazes. Especially where a dark glaze is the first glaze applied, then painting a wax design and follow by applying a lighter coloured glaze.
Some of my favourite wax resist pieces were made by Australian Studio Potter Phyl Dunn (1915-1999).
Her glazes from this period have the most beautiful silky smooth texture, and display a fresh experimental approach to the use of colour and pattern. They are usually very simple pieces where it can be seen she was experimenting with Calligraphy as a design.
After formal training in London in 1954-1955, Phyl returned to Australia in 1956, marrying Studio Potter Reg Preston in 1958. At this time also “Potters Cottage” was established. Potters Cottage was a co-operative founded in Warrandyte in 1958 for the purpose making and selling handmade Australian pottery.
The five founding members from 1958 were Reg Preston, Phyl Dunn, Artec Halpern, Gus McLaren and Charles Wilton; Their shared idealistic belief that modern, handmade pottery could enhance the quality of contemporary life was central to their philosophy.
In the 2 earthenware pieces by Phyl Dunn below from the same period, (early 1960’s) the use of colour is beautifully restrained. Phyl was also a very competent colourist, and combining this skill with wax resist, seems to add a freshness which wasnt present in much of the “heavy” studio pottery of this period.
In 1967 she moved from earthenware pottery to stoneware, and in 1982 Phyl and Reg set up a studio in Woolamai in Victoria, where she worked until 1987. I think these early wax resist pieces by Phyl are amongst her best work however.
Phyl Dunn, Wax Resist Design Jug
Poole “Atlantis” was the name give to a series of hand pieces from the Craft section of Poole Pottery, under the direction of Guy Sydenham starting in 1969 and going into the 1970s.
There is very large variety of forms and decoration because they were handmade….and they are now relatively hard to get hold of, and often expensive.
3 clay bodies were used – either a red clay, stone coloured body or black clay body. Some pieces were carved, some were glazed, some were both carved and glazed.
The first image below is of a piece I recently came across, made and signed by Guy Sydenham.
Poole Atlantis Vase
Poole Atlantis Vase –
Poole Atlantis Vase – Base Shot, Guy Sydenham Cypher
Zeuthen Keramik was founded in 1946 at Gentofte, near Copenhagen, by Normann Zeuthen. It traded under the named Zeuthen Keramik from 1948. The workshop employed around 10-15 people at its peak. Some of the known potters who spent some time there in the apprenticeship system in its early years were Ady Kroyer and Birte Vedel Howard who both went on to have successful careers as potters in Denmark.
Zeuthen pottery has become well known for its functional and domestic works in red clay decorated with motifs of flowers, stars, dots and other decorative motifs in white raised glaze or slip trailed glaze on the unglazed smooth red clay. Going by the amount of Zeuthen work still available online and in antique stores their output was very high….and very popular to this day.
Pieces from Zuethen are simply signed “Zuethen Denmark” in blue to the base. Sometimes you might find a printed paper label as well.
I haven’t been able to find a date for when the pottery ceased operating – any help with this appreciated.
Edith Nielsen was the primary designer at Zeuthen responsible for this distinctive style which became the Zeuthen style.
Zeuthen Denmark, Large Vase
A superb recent find. At first glance I thought this was a variation of the iconic “Emilia” series by Raija Uosikkinen, but it turns out to be from a series of designs called “Kauppatori”, in the same drawn style as Emilia but quite different when you look at it more closely.
The design seems to be very rare, and from what I can see only on 2 forms – both deep serving plates.
It is named after the famous Market Square in Helsinki, Finland….one of the most famous tourist attractions in the city.
The design features similar charming characters to those in “Emilia” but the townscape, market characters, the use of green, as well as black line drawing set the design apart.
There is a fantastic Finnish website HERE where a lot of research as gone into the history of “Emilia” and all the designs like this one, related to it. I often refer to it
Arabia Finland Kauppatori