Alexander (Alex) Sharp

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Alexander Sharp Morar Pottery

Post by Jeffingtons on September 27th 2014, 7:54 pm

I really feel like I've seen both the mark and the decor style before but can't find it. Anyone got an idea?
Thanks

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Re: Alexander (Alex) Sharp

Post by r-and-f on October 1st 2014, 8:51 am

I agree that his work can be very variable, but his best pieces are outstanding. Over a long career at Morar Pottery and then on the Island of Bute he worked in many different styles using many different clays and glazes and a confusing number of seals and incised marks, most of which are not recorded in BSPM. I haven't seen anything else by Alex Sharp using either the style or the mark of your teapot, but that doesn't mean that I am doubting that it's by him.
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Re: Alexander (Alex) Sharp

Post by Jeffingtons on October 1st 2014, 9:24 am

Cheers. All I can say with certainty is it's a superior piece of potting, with a striking glaze design. I like it a lot, enough to risk the wrath of her ladyship for bringing home more stuff
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Re: Alexander (Alex) Sharp

Post by studio-pots on October 3rd 2014, 6:31 pm

Hi Jeffingtons - if you can add an image of the mark that I "lost" then I would be most grateful!

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Re: Alexander (Alex) Sharp

Post by Jeffingtons on October 5th 2014, 4:56 pm

Hi Studio-Pots, here we are and some more besides






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Alexander (Alex) Sharp

Post by RoyJ99 on April 25th 2015, 4:57 pm

Picked up this large jug(H.30cm) today at the car boot sale today. 2 impressed marks at the near the base, look like dp bP or similar.







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Re: Alexander (Alex) Sharp

Post by RoyJ99 on April 25th 2015, 5:27 pm

Was walking past the window with the jug and some blue tack when the sun caught the mark making it clearer.

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Re: Alexander (Alex) Sharp

Post by NaomiM on April 25th 2015, 7:37 pm

Looks to be like Alex Sharp's 'as' stamp. The other isn't the Morar Pottery mark, so another of the potteries he worked at.


Last edited by NaomiM on April 25th 2015, 7:41 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Alexander (Alex) Sharp

Post by NaomiM on April 25th 2015, 7:40 pm


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Re: Alexander (Alex) Sharp

Post by RoyJ99 on April 25th 2015, 8:00 pm

Don't know how you got there Naomi but I think you are spot on once again. It appears that he set up a pottery on Bute after Morar so that may account for the bp mark. It would also make a lot of sense are there were a fair number of bowls marked "Bute" with the same seller, he purchased them as a lot at auction a few days ago.
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Re: Alexander (Alex) Sharp

Post by r-and-f on April 27th 2015, 10:25 pm

Definitely Alex Sharp's mark at Bute Pottery. I have another jug with the same mark, and the way he did his thin strap handles is unmistakeable.
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Re: Alexander (Alex) Sharp

Post by RoyJ99 on April 27th 2015, 11:07 pm

Thanks r-and-f, used a bit of blue tack on the mark and it is quite clear AS. Went back to the car boot sale on Sunday and picked up a small bowl with the bp stamp on it and a couple of unmarked bowls which I'm pretty sure are his as well.
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Re: Alexander (Alex) Sharp

Post by r-and-f on April 28th 2015, 10:43 am

In my opinion a hugely underrated potter. I'm trying to put together a small collection of his pots but he used a bewildering number of styles, clays, glazes and marks over a long period at several potteries, so it will probably turn into a big collection before it's finished. When at Morar Pottery in darkest Inverness-shire he was employed by Highland Home Industries and (I think) had a number of helpers or apprentices, so some of the work from there is decidedly iffy. But when he was good he was very good, and some of his Morar and Bute pieces are superbly thrown and glazed. I'm still looking for pots from his time working with Leach in St Ives and from after he retired when he made pots in his garden shed.
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Re: Alexander (Alex) Sharp

Post by studio-pots on April 28th 2015, 11:36 am

Living in the south, Alex Sharp is not someone that I had heard of. However, the reference to him working at the Leach Pottery got me digging, as with that connection I thought that the name ought to have rung a bell.

First stop was the book, Leach Pottery St. Ives by Marion Whybrow, where there is no mention of him whatsoever. Not even in the list of potters known to have worked there but with no other entry.

I then looked online and found his obituary from the Scotsman in 2010 when he died aged 92, which said that he had worked in St. Ives and gave details. I was a little suspicious of some of those details as it talked about him being inspired by "A Potter's Book" published in 1940 and then working with Leach and Hamada but Hamada had been in St. Ives from 1920 to 1923.

There was also reference in the obituary to Alex having work at the Dartington Conference of 1952. Therefore I dug out my copy of the catalogue, which has small biographies of the partisipants, and sure enough he was there. It gives his address as Highland Home Industries Ltd, Morar Pottery and states, "is a pupil of Bernard Leach and has had fourteen years pottery experience."

I think with Leach's close connection to that conference that he must have been a pupil of Bernard or that wouldn't have appeared in the catalogue. However, if the 14 years experience is correct then he must have begun potting before he read Leach's book.

Therefore it seems as if Sharp was at the Leach Pottery at some point during the 1940s. At that time production would have concentrated on producing pots for use rather than for decorative purposes. Therefore I suspect little or no individual work (except by Bernard) would have been produced so I'm not hopeful of any work by Alex at the Leach Pottery being found with a personal seal.

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Re: Alexander (Alex) Sharp

Post by r-and-f on April 28th 2015, 12:17 pm

Thanks for that, S-P. I've always been a bit affronted on behalf of Alex Sharp that his name doesn't appear in any of the lists of Leach potters who worked at St Ives, but there does exist at least one pot with Alex's personal mark alongside the St Ives seal. There's a picture of it here: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/175077504237574272/.

I understand that Alex is well represented in the studio pottery collection at Paisley Museum but to my shame I haven't been to see it yet.

One day soon I'll try to summon up enough energy to collect all my Alex Sharp pots in one place and photograph them to post on the Forum. But don't hold your breath.
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Re: Alexander (Alex) Sharp

Post by RoyJ99 on April 28th 2015, 12:27 pm

Thank you for the information Studio, much appreciated. I myself have also been digging a bit and had read that he was a pupil of Leach at St.Ives rather than a colleague, a conclusion at which you have also reached.

I also agree with r-and-f about his work being hugely underrated, despite his some of work being held by a few museums including the V&A. Information and examples of his work online seems to be somewhat sparse.
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Re: Alexander (Alex) Sharp

Post by studio-pots on April 28th 2015, 12:38 pm

r-and-f wrote:Thanks for that, S-P.  I've always been a bit affronted on behalf of Alex Sharp that his name doesn't appear in any of the lists of Leach potters who worked at St Ives, but there does exist at least one pot with Alex's personal mark alongside the St Ives seal.  There's a picture of it here: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/175077504237574272/.

One day soon I'll try to summon up enough energy to collect all my Alex Sharp pots in one place and photograph them to post on the Forum.  But don't hold your breath.

I stand corrected on individually marked pieces, as there is no-one else with those initials who is down as having worked at the Leach Pottery.

Now that we have a thread for him you ought to do your bit in his memory and post an image or two.

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Re: Alexander (Alex) Sharp

Post by r-and-f on April 29th 2015, 1:15 pm

Here's a photo of my collection of Alex Sharp pots.  An extraordinary range including stoneware, earthenware and porcelain, a beautifully thrown charger and jugs, rather tacky tourist-type ware, a moulded hen-on-nest and even pottery jewellery. My two favourites are the charger and the dark green glazed pitcher.

I've put close-ups of all the pots and all the marks on a Pinterest board which you can see at https://uk.pinterest.com/rogerstewart509/alexander-sharp-pottery/









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Re: Alexander (Alex) Sharp

Post by climberg64 on April 29th 2015, 3:14 pm

Jeffingtons wrote:Hi Studio-Pots, here we are and some more besides







Can we consider again whether this is by Alex Sharp? It was IDed as such but there is no pottery mark and the potter's mark is different.
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Re: Alexander (Alex) Sharp

Post by r-and-f on April 29th 2015, 4:40 pm

I'm sceptical because I don't recognise the style of making or the decoration as being anything like Alex Sharp's other work. But on the other hand, as you can see from my pictures, he worked in such a wide range of styles and used so many different marks and had such a very long potting career, that anything's possible. It might just be that your teapot is one of his later post-retirement garden-shed productions.
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Re: Alexander (Alex) Sharp

Post by RoyJ99 on April 29th 2015, 6:19 pm

Nice collection r-and-f, the bowl in the middle is vry similar to the one I bought from the car boot seller on Sunday. Is your hen-on-a-nest marked? The seller also had one for sale but had no marks on it.
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Re: Alexander (Alex) Sharp

Post by r-and-f on April 29th 2015, 8:05 pm

Roy: here's the Hen and the mark on her base (well, on the base of her nest, actually).  





Wish I had been at that car boot sale!
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Re: Alexander (Alex) Sharp

Post by RoyJ99 on April 29th 2015, 8:32 pm

I'll probably see the seller tomorrow at a general auction I go to to trawl through the lots, I'll ask him if he still has the hen and another large 30cm+ bowl that was marked with "BUTE".
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Re: Alexander (Alex) Sharp

Post by r-and-f on June 14th 2016, 10:33 am

Some recent acquisitions by Alex Sharp produced at Morar and Isle of Bute potteries.











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from Alexander Sharp's Grandaughter (on behalf of his wife Elizabeth)

Post by BTaylor1 on February 5th 2017, 11:21 pm

Hello to anyone on this forum.

I have been requested to write to any of you who have any interest in my grandfather's pottery.My name is Beth Taylor (Nee Sharp). I am Alex's granddaughter and currently live with my grandmother, Elizabeth Sharp. Sadly, I didn't possess the same talent (I am instead training as an opera singer, very much inspired by his love of classical music).


My aunt had come across this forum by accident and when she showed it to my gran, she was pleasantly surprised to see some people who are clearly very fond of his work. She isn't able to use a computer but was keen to get in touch to let any one know that if they have any questions regarding my grandfather's pottery, they can get in touch through me here or personal email. She also has many pieces here at home that she would be happy to show anyone who may be interested in the future- she knows a lot about his work.


My gran, as did Alex eventually, lost her hearing many years ago and is unable to communicate by regular telephone and would require things written on paper as her lip-reading isn't at an efficient stage.

Please feel free to get in touch with me anytime.

Best wishes,

Beth
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Re: Alexander (Alex) Sharp

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