I was so pleased to hear from readers Alan & Val who were able to provide some more snippets of information about, and some images of pieces they have by Ilja Chapoff.
Ilja was a WWII refugee to Australia, and worked as a potter painter and sculptor in until the 1980s mainly in New South Wales (see my previous post here)
Alan and Val met Ilja when they ran a small art gallery where they sold some of his work. The gallery was next to their printing business in Narwee 1974/1975.
During this period Ilja was living in the Narwee/Riverwood area. They recall him being a quiet and gentle man, who before he migrated to Australia had taught and practised as an artist in Europe (possibly Prague) for many years, but had to flee with nothing when he came to Australia.
They purchased some of his work at that time, and kindly sent me some photographs of it.
You will also see below another example of Ilja’s work sent to me by Sandra Read more
The pot in the first image is a quite large and heavily textured piece of studio pottery by the very well known Danish Ceramicist, Conny Walther (b1931 – d?).
Conny started off at Saxbo Pottery 1948-1949, but left after a year and studied the Arts and Crafts School in Copenhagen 1949-1951 where she graduated as a ceramicist.
She then worked at Kahler Ceramics in Naestved 1951-1952, before opening her own studio in Birkerod, north of Copenhagen with her husband, Artist Bent Stubbe Teglbjerg – who sometimes decorated her works. In her later years she worked as a painter.
Her early work consisted of high fired earthenware, simply decorated with thick glossy glazes, before moving on to high fired stoneware with ash glazes (askeglasurer).
In the 1960s and 70s she experimented freely with stoneware sculptures composed of burned, unglazed, part geometric, part organic shapes of porcelain clay, often which with heavily textured surfaces.
I think the first piece here belongs to a period in the middle somewhere, early 1960s probably. It is high fired stoneware, with what appears to be a clear ash glaze. Her CW cypher is one that is instantly recognisable.
Another of my Denby favourites is “Troubador” (sic). Designed in the early 1970s.
It is beautifully simple and delicate pattern of superbly hand painted magnolias with leaves in soft greens and pale browns with the faintest touch of dusty pink, on a simple stone coloured stoneware.
I really like the forms of the 1960s – early 1970’s Denby – especially forms such as the bowls and plates in this series.
Timeless but contemporary at the same time – and gaining popularity to a new generation currently.
The pattern, form design and quality production of this dinnerware is sadly almost non existent these days – apart from hand made studio pottery – which this most closely resembles.