Diana Australia Nefertiti
Diana Australia Nefertiti c1960s
There was a worldwide Arts and Crafts revival in the mid 20th Century, and Australian pottery in the 1960s and 70’s was booming as well, especially with anything stoneware – both handmade and commercial.
The international icons such as Arabia Finland, and Midwinter UK reflected this trend world wide, but one of the most important commercial manufacturers from this period in Australia was Diana Pottery.
Diana (after the huntress) was set up in 1940 by Eric Lowe at a site in Marrickville, Sydney. In the 1940s they produced mainly utility and kitchen ware with over 200 shapes being produced. By 1952 they were employing 70 hands who were producing a large range of hand painted ware. In the 1960’s, Diana Pottery, under the name “Hollywood” made a variety of slip cast vases or brightly coloured glazed, or sprayed with a Cream glaze creating a speckled texture finish were made.
In this era they also produced one of the most enduring and popular of all the Diana ranges – a stoneware series called Nefertiti. Nefertiti features organic and modernist forms. It has become a modernist classic and as collectors items, pieces of this range are still surprisingly lowly priced. There were a large range of forms made – from utilitarian dinnerware to pieces such as carafes and goblets.
The pieces are also lovely to use and touch, and like all stoneware very tough.
Besides the great shapes – I love the glaze colours on these pieces which varies from a plain ochre yellow, to the richest rusty brown ochre colour, highlighted by the diamond texture on each piece. Another plus is that the size of many of the forms is very generous compared to many other products of this era.
There were a number of variations of decorations of the Nefertiti form – one a plain satin white glaze, one with the white glaze and decorative repeat medallion, and the other called “Safari” made to like like studio pottery with a more rustic glaze. There may be more still lurking out there which were made in lower numbers.
Sadly like many other potteries of this period, Diana pottery closed in 1975. For a more extensive history of this iconic Australian pottery….visit “The Rameking” a very informative Australian blog.
One of the offshoots of Diana was via of its employees was Karel Jungvirt, a sculptor and artist from Czechoslovakia who migrated in 1951. In 1953, he set up the Studio Anna pottery which went into full production in 1954, again in Marrrickville. With 30 staff, the pottery produced ceramics that were exported to Britain, the US and Canada.In 1999 Jungvirt sold the business and returned to his home country.