Monday, February 11, 2013

Diana Pottery

I come across mid century Australian ceramics quite frequently in my travels and occasionally I buy and sell the ones I like. The beautiflora series by Diana pottery as pictured above is an example. It turns out Diana pottery was made in a factory located 2 kilometres from my home here in Sydney. Seems like a good enough reason to explore it a little.

Diana Pottery was founded in 1940 by Eric Lowe at 122-126 Marrickville Rd. at Marrickville, New South Wales from 1941 to 1966, and was the most important Australian ceramics manufacturer during this period. Named after Diana the Roman goddess for the hunt, the moon and birthing. 

By 1952, he had 70 staff with a range of decorated oven and kitchenware. One of its employees was Karel Jungvirt, a sculptor and artist from Czechoslovakia, who had arrived in Australia in late 1951. In 1953, he set up the Studio Anna pottery which moved to Shepherd St, Marrickville, in 1954. He and Toni Coles ran the studio until 1999.  Below are a few examples of Studio Anna.

Aah but I digress. In the 1940s Diana produced wares to assist the war effort, including cups and mugs for Navy and munitions cantens, along with tea pots and milk jugs.

At the cessation of World War II, the pottery diversified and commercilaised its output to include a large variety of slip cast vases in many colours, shapes and sizes, book ends, animal figures, table ware, utility and kitchen ware. Over the life of the pottery, over 200 different shapes were produced.

By the early 1950s the company had more than 70 employees and were producing a large range of hand painted articles which included "Waltzing Matilda" musical mugs and jugs, and produced bright "gumnut" pots with pale green and brown glazes.
The musical mugs and jugs played when lifted, and the movements were expensive and difficult to obtain, being imported from Switzerland, so many mugs and jugs that should have had movements were sold without at reduced prices.
A 1960 catalogue shows a range of decorated oven and kitchen ware hand painted in maple, poinsettia, cornflower, blackberry, wattle, flannel flower, and even a prawn design.

Also In the 1960's,  under the name 'Hollywood' they made a variety of slip cast vases or brightly coloured glazed, or sprayed with a Cream glaze creating a speckled texture finish were made, some have been found with a stamp and/or a paper label.

Do you collect Australian pottery? Would love to do a blog spot on your collection! 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Vintage Frames


Picture frames are becoming an increasing fascination  - I love the tracery of the line - with or without picture - I make a bee line in museums for the big ornate gilt frames and marvel at the craftsmanship and artistry of the unknown maker.

The consensus is that it was during 2nd Century BC when the first frames were used - lines drawn around Etruscan wall paintings and wooden frames around Egyptian portraits of the dead. These Fayum mummy portraits were found to have wooden frames around them and it is speculated they were displayed in the household of the deceased before being placed on the mummy.

The first carved wooden frames as we know them today appeared on small panel paintings in 12th and 13th century..They were made from one piece of wood - like a tray with the area to be painted carved out before painted upon. Cost and practicality won out and it was the church during the 14th and 15th century prior to the renaissance that commissioned most art work and frames to go with them.

It was the Medicis who sought to bring art to their estates that brought in an era of the portable framed picture. Frames were now designed by furniture builders rather than the artist, sculptor or architect as in the past. 

By 1690 Paris was the most famous frame making centre and frames followed furniture fashion from this period onwards. In Victorian society, wall and table frames were the way to exhibit photographic or small painted portraits. Heavy silver and gilded brass table frames were popular. The standard place in the house to exhibit photos was on the fireplace mantle.
They still hold a fascination for collectors today.