Leach?

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Leach?

Post by mowen on November 2nd 2014, 8:26 pm




so what happened was.... my partner/love/lightofmylife bought this from the dreaded ebay listed as by the great man himself, i'm not so sure..... your thoughts would be gratefully recived.
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Leach.

Post by denbydump on November 2nd 2014, 8:47 pm

mmmmm... think we need to see the whole pot.
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Re: Leach?

Post by studio-pots on November 2nd 2014, 9:55 pm

The right side mark looks like the Leach Pottery mark but the other one isn't Bernard's mark.

I have looked at the Ebay listing and the seller doesn't say that it is by Bernard Leach so I can't see that your partner has been misled by the seller.

I don't know whose personal seal it is.

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Re: Leach?

Post by mowen on November 2nd 2014, 10:04 pm

Thank you studio pots, yes you are quite correct it was sold as 'from the bernard leach pottery'. It is quite the most uninteresting pot I have ever seen, and I didn't even like it when he showed me the listing! Arghhh. I have a feeling it's not paticularly old, now I have it I will have to try and find out who's it is. *sigh*
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Re: Leach?

Post by studio-pots on November 2nd 2014, 10:14 pm

There isn't a book or list of individuals' marks when at the Pottery unfortunately.

However, it does appear to have a salt or more likely soda glaze and, if you are correct, then it could be very recent i.e. after the charity took over in 2005. If that is true, which I can't say one way or the other, then putting "from the Bernard Leach Pottery" is misleading.

You could try sending an image of the mark to the pottery to see what they say? If anyone there recognises the mark as being recent then maybe your partner could make a case against the seller.

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Re: Leach?

Post by NaomiM on November 2nd 2014, 10:16 pm

You could ask on the British Studio Pottery Collectors group on Facebook. There are some members who are avid collectors of St Ives pottery.

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Re: Leach?

Post by mowen on November 2nd 2014, 10:25 pm

*double sigh* I now find out the seller was local and he paid cash! So no chance of sending it back as being not quite right. Will give that a go maybe Naomi. Or maybe I will sling it in the back of the cupboard and forget about it...... Thank you both. :)
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Re: Leach?

Post by NaomiM on November 2nd 2014, 10:40 pm

Can't resist a mystery. Would you like me to ask on Facebook?

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Re: Leach?

Post by mowen on November 3rd 2014, 6:08 pm

Ooooh! Yes please Naomi! Before I consign it to the cuboard under the stairs! Thank you! X
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Re: Leach?

Post by NaomiM on November 3rd 2014, 6:20 pm

Will do. I'll report back if I get an answer.

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Re: Leach?

Post by NaomiM on November 3rd 2014, 7:20 pm

Apparently Phil Rogers had a discussion about this piece on his Facebook account. I posted it in studio potters group, and on both threads the consensus is that while it is by St Ives  it's unlikely to have been made by Bernard Leach himself (not his usual potting style), but who the potter is is still a mystery. Other pieces with this L: mark have turned up, similarly Salt glazed so it's not a one off. The date is also a mystery but one collector suspects it's an early piece.
May be missing a lid.

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Re: Leach?

Post by mowen on November 4th 2014, 8:36 am

Well that is helpful thank you Naomi. Interesting that there are others, my suspicion is it might have been someone passing through, a friend or a student, it is infact potted better than its lumpen shape implies, though the shape might make more sense if it had a lid. Either way it's bloody ugly! Thanks again :) x x
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Re: Leach?

Post by NaomiM on November 4th 2014, 9:18 am

Maybe it's an early piece made by one of his sons? I can't imagine a visitor would be allowed to use a mark so similar to Bernard's own.

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Re: Leach?

Post by studio-pots on November 4th 2014, 12:02 pm

The problem with it being salt or soda glazed is that you really need to use a separate kiln otherwise subsequent firings of non-salt/soda glazed wares would be messed up. So I can't see it being an "early piece" or there would be information about a salt kiln at the Pottery and there is not. Some early wares did show traces of salting but that was because some driftwood from the beach was at times used in the firings.

I can say that the style does not fit any members of the Leach family, who worked at the pottery, i.e. David, Michael and John. The mark is also not one used by them. Janet did make pots at times that resembled this but again it's not her mark.

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Re: Leach?

Post by studio-pots on November 4th 2014, 12:19 pm

If you assume that the L is the first letter of the potter's surname then there are only a few individuals that fit.

The first of these is Margaret Leach, who was there during the Second World War, when there would have been no time for the working potters to make individual pieces.

Next is the Canadian, Glenn Lewis, and I had a pot made at the Pottery with his personal seal on in the past and this wasn't it.

Next comes Denny Long, who only helped out during holidays while studying for a Diploma in Art and Design. I can't believe that she was allowed to make individual pieces and she was Denny Johnston at the time in any case.

So that leaves Jeffrey Larkin, an American who was there from 1976 to 1978. When he went there he was mixing clays and other odd jobs but Bill did teach him to throw. His subsequent pots don't look like this but I suppose that he can't be ruled out. I believe he still pots (Featherstone Pottery in Minnesota) so might be possible to contact him.

The other two potters are just names Paul Lajoire and Penny Lyle. The first of these is/was Canadian and seemed to be influenced by Japanese pottery and used porcelain when back in Canada so doesn't seem likely. Finally, Penny Lyle, who I assume is the potter that worked in the Brecon area and whose work appears on Ebay.

The other option is that it wasn't made at the Leach Pottery at all but by someone trying to suggest that it was and that it might be by Bernard.

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Re: Leach?

Post by big ed on November 4th 2014, 12:33 pm

So basically , it will remain a mystery , as so many potters have been involved at the pottery marks like this are bound to appear now and again , to pinpoint it down would be extremely difficult imo , it isn't a very good pot , so a trial and error springs to mind , I don't see why bernard is being ignored so much as he had painted marks that looked like L3 , surely ex leach potters should have a clue , if not then ...move on i say , we can't track down the hoards of people working of that time , can we ? Shrugs

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Re: Leach?

Post by denbydump on November 4th 2014, 12:48 pm

I have heard anecdotes in the past of fake Leach pottery. eg The teacher in nick?
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Re: Leach?

Post by big ed on November 4th 2014, 12:50 pm

Yes there are millions of them , rule number one in fakery -FFS make it look good Laughter

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Re: Leach?

Post by NaomiM on November 4th 2014, 12:51 pm

If someone was going to fake it they'd have faked Bernard's mark - as has happened - rather than half a mark.
Janet Leach is a possibility, then, before she made her own stamp.

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Re: Leach?

Post by studio-pots on November 4th 2014, 12:51 pm

I'm having a go!

There are other things for me that rule it out being by Bernard, other than the mark isn't one recorded as being used by him.

Firstly, that it is salt-glazed and there wasn't a salt kiln there during the time that Bernard was active at the Pottery.

Secondly, that it isn't a shape of pot that I have seen thrown by Bernard.

Thirdly, that if Bernard had wanted to try out a salt kiln I can't believe that he would have marked the pot before firing.

Finally, if it was like the pots with a painted BL mark i.e. thrown by BIll Marshall and decorated by Bernard then Bill would have thrown a better pot and he also had the use of Bernard's correct seal mark.


Last edited by studio-pots on November 4th 2014, 1:03 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Leach?

Post by studio-pots on November 4th 2014, 12:58 pm

NaomiM wrote:If someone was going to fake it they'd have faked Bernard's mark - as has happened - rather than half a mark.
Janet Leach is a possibility, then, before she made her own stamp.  

There is no mention of Janet using another personal seal than the one associated with her before or after that seal. If it is as you suggest, Naomi, it is more likely to be later in her career rather than earlier and, if so, Joanna Wason might know. Personally, I think that the suggestion is a real long shot.

Marking a pot with a mark that is similar but not the same as that of Bernard Leach isn't faking. However, it might suggest that it's by Bernard without breaking the law. It works too.

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Re: Leach?

Post by big ed on November 4th 2014, 1:09 pm

I don't think it's by Bernard , Bill and Deffo not Janet , but we can't assume because the pot looks naff it wasn't , I think it was a bandit myself , Joanna would not know imo , I asked her about my JL pot and to be fair I didn'r expect a result , same with J bedding , we cannot expect them to remember every little pot that pops out of st ives

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Re: Leach?

Post by studio-pots on November 4th 2014, 1:40 pm

I agree that potter's working there aren't going to have known everything what others were doing and, if they knew something, aren't going to necessarily remember.

I shown the pot with the mark below to Bill M. and he couldn't make any suggestion.


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Re: Leach?

Post by big ed on November 4th 2014, 1:50 pm

Could be anybody SP ,BTW I do really like some of the old Janet pots you had Happy

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Re: Leach?

Post by studio-pots on November 4th 2014, 3:41 pm

big ed wrote:Could be anybody SP ,BTW I do really like some of the old Janet pots you had Happy

I thought and still think that it might be by Atsuya, son of Shoji, and I know that Bill was a great friend so thought that he might be able to confirm or not. When I suggested him, Bill said it was possible but couldn't say. Where can you find a Hamada expert when you want one?

At one time I had some very good customers, who bought most of the Janet Leach pots that came my way. When they hit hard times I bought them all back and said that I had enough then to "see me out". I have re-sold quite a few but it's still touch and go!

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