M mark on David Leach, Lowerdown bottle vase

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Post by Design79 November 8th 2013, 11:25 am

Hi All!

I'm a bit stumped with one of the seal marks on this bottle vase I bought recently - i'm pretty confident the first one is David Leach's Lowerdown Pettery "L+" mark (although not that obvious at first because the cross is quite obscured across the seam of the base). But the second stamp is just an "M" impressed in a circle which i haven't been able to identify.
Could it be an early John Maltby mark while at Lowerdown (1962-64), where he would have done more domestic ware pieces?
It doesn't have any dots above or below like the seal of Maltby's own work, but maybe it was different while at Lowerdown as an apprentice before he set up his own workshop? The "M" itself is very similar - but i can't find any examples of this, and could be someone else?

Any thoughts and opinions on who else it could be are welcome!

It's a lovely little vase with a beautifully rich tenmoku glaze.
Many thanks!
M mark on David Leach, Lowerdown bottle vase  Photo_19
M mark on David Leach, Lowerdown bottle vase  Photo_20
M mark on David Leach, Lowerdown bottle vase  Photo_21
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Post by studio-pots November 8th 2013, 4:49 pm

Firstly, I am fairly certain that it is not by John Maltby, although you are quite correct that he worked with David Leach there straight after Art School.

Although the BSPM marks book suggests that the L+ mark was used in the 1950s, I have my doubts and think that it wasn't used until after Maltby had left Lowerdown (although I have no real proof). After leaving Lowerdown, Maltby originally made domestic ware but it wasn't as good as your bottle in my opinion.

If I take your word on one of the marks being the Lowerdown Cross mark then I think that it is likely to have been made since David's death when Jeremy, his son, has been running the pottery. I say that because during David's time at the pottery I have never seen a piece with any other mark than L+ or LD and Tim Andrews was with him a very long time and was never allowed to put a personal seal on L+ pots when working for David. Later Tim shared Lowerdown with David but then his stoneware pots only had a TA mark.

So I have no idea about the M but Jeremy's rule seems to be why put only one mark on a pot when there is room for more and he has put M on his pots in the past when he made pots up the road from David at his Mathilda Pottery (named after his aunt).

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Post by NaomiM November 8th 2013, 5:56 pm

Whoever made it, it's a quality pot. Excellent 

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Post by big ed November 8th 2013, 7:52 pm

I can't quite make out the lowerdown mark and I haven't seen one with the mark on the inside foot rim either , so maybe it isn't lowerdown at all . Shrugs 
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Post by studio-pots November 9th 2013, 11:12 am

I also don't recall seeing Lowerdown pots marked inside the foot rim either.

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Post by NaomiM November 9th 2013, 1:32 pm

A bit of a longshot, but to me the M looks like MD; could it be for Mike Dodd?

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Post by NaomiM November 9th 2013, 1:35 pm

As much as I stare at the L I'm not seeing the cross for Lowerdown, so maybe best to look outside of Lowerdown for the time being.

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Post by studio-pots November 9th 2013, 1:39 pm

Mike's mark is MJD with the J coming off the right vertical of the M so definitely not his mark. However, if it had been by him the mark would very likely have been covered in glaze so you couldn't see it. Cheeky

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Post by NaomiM November 9th 2013, 1:42 pm

NaomiM wrote:As much as I stare at the L I'm not seeing the cross for Lowerdown, so maybe best to look outside of Lowerdown for the time being.

But saying that, the L does look the same shape as the one on the Lowerdown mark. Shrugs 

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Post by big ed November 9th 2013, 4:21 pm

SNOT lowerdown Naomi ..stop It Laughter 
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Post by NaomiM November 9th 2013, 4:57 pm

Is it just me, or does the L look like it's got a little bird perched on it?

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Post by Potty November 9th 2013, 11:16 pm

The mark looks like Lowerdown to me, but the picture is not really close enough to see, glaze also looks in fitting to me.


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Post by dantheman November 10th 2013, 9:36 am

perhaps a better picture of the mark would help?

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Post by NaomiM November 12th 2013, 5:29 pm

Came across this one, from Marianne de Trey's Shinners Bridge pottery, 1980s.

http://www.vads.ac.uk/learning/csc/detrey/larger_image_html/fig6.html

http://www.vads.ac.uk/learning/csc/detrey/essay.html#fig

I'm wondering if it's MD for Michael Dixon?


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Post by Design79 November 13th 2013, 12:00 am

Hi all
Sorry for the long delay while you've all been working hard! Embarrassed Thanks for your input.
Studio-pots, your info is interesting and makes sense. I've also since been assured by Alex at Stivesmodern that John Maltby never used a personal seal at Lowerdown, but did on occasion use DL! So that ties in with what you said! I had also looked at Mathilda pottery but couldn't work out why Jeremy may have used it on this.

Thanks NaomiM - it is a quality pot for sure! The shape, proportion and glaze are superb and it shows a lot of skill. I'll double check but think you might be seeing a nudged stamp edge rather than "D".

I'm pretty sure it is the Lowerdown mark but it took a while to see it I must admit, I will try to get better shots of both (not on my phone this time!) and repost.
In the photo you can just make out what I think is the triangular shaped bottom section of the cross. I'll certainly re-check with an open mind though Pondering  I understand what you mean about the positioning on the inside of the foot rim, hadn't thought of that! Could it be that, as studio-pots says, Jeremy was a bit more liberal with his marks?

Thanks again, you're all very helpful!
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Post by NaomiM November 13th 2013, 1:54 am

This one came in after yours, and appears to bear the M mark for Jeremy Leach's Mathilda Pottery. Your M mark, in comparison, looks a little different.

https://www.20thcenturyforum.com/t13677-studio-pottery-marks-maker

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Post by Design79 November 25th 2013, 11:40 pm

Design79 wrote:Hi All!

I'm a bit stumped with one of the seal marks on this bottle vase I bought recently - i'm pretty confident the first one is David Leach's Lowerdown Pettery "L+" mark (although not that obvious at first because the cross is quite obscured across the seam of the base). But the second stamp is just an "M" impressed in a circle which i haven't been able to identify.
Could it be an early John Maltby mark while at Lowerdown (1962-64), where he would have done more domestic ware pieces?
It doesn't have any dots above or below like the seal of Maltby's own work, but maybe it was different while at Lowerdown as an apprentice before he set up his own workshop? The "M" itself is very similar - but i can't find any examples of this, and could be someone else?

Any thoughts and opinions on who else it could be are welcome!

It's a lovely little vase with a beautifully rich tenmoku glaze.
Many thanks!
M mark on David Leach, Lowerdown bottle vase  Photo_19
M mark on David Leach, Lowerdown bottle vase  Photo_20
M mark on David Leach, Lowerdown bottle vase  Photo_21





Back again!
Its been a while, but i thought i'd post another photo of the debated lowerdown mark... for some reason i've found it more recognisable when the photo is taken upside down!!! Insane When i rotate it, it just looks weird because of the shadow. Can anyone start to see the "+" yet?? I'll have one last go with a proper camera if not!
Thanks again

M mark on David Leach, Lowerdown bottle vase  Lowerd11
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Post by NaomiM November 26th 2013, 12:00 am

Yes, certainly looks right .

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Post by Design79 November 26th 2013, 12:14 am

Just need to find that M now... Or could it be W?!
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