Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries

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

https://www.20thcenturyforum.com/t26363-mystery-as-mark-alex-sharp

opening post moved because it wasn’t certain it was by Alex Sharp - Admin
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Post by RoyJ99 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.

Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Dscf4010

Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Dscf4011

Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Dscf4012

Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Dscf4013
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Post by RoyJ99 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.

Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Dscf4014
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Post by NaomiM 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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Post by NaomiM April 25th 2015, 7:40 pm

http://www.hmag.gla.ac.uk/john/pots/Alexander%20Sharp%20big%20pot%20marks%201.JPG

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Post by RoyJ99 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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Post by r-and-f 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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Post by RoyJ99 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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Post by r-and-f 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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Post by studio-pots 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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Post by r-and-f 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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Post by RoyJ99 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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Post by studio-pots 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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Post by r-and-f 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/

Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Alex_s11

Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Charge10

Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Charge11

Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Green_10

Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Green_12
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Post by RoyJ99 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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Post by r-and-f 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).  

Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Hen_on10

Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Hen_on11

Wish I had been at that car boot sale!
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Post by RoyJ99 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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Post by r-and-f June 14th 2016, 10:33 am

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

Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Morar_12

Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Morar_13

Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Morar_14

Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Morar_15

Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Morar_16

Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Bute_j11
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Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Empty from Alexander Sharp's Grandaughter (on behalf of his wife Elizabeth)

Post by BTaylor1 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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Post by NaomiM February 6th 2017, 1:53 am

It's alway great to have personal reminiscences of the potter for future collectors of their work. Anything your gran would like to say about Alex Sharp could be added to this thread for posterity.

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Post by r-and-f February 6th 2017, 4:57 pm

Hello Beth.  I'm a collector of your Grandfather's pots and have more than 20 of them.  As you can see from previous postings on this thread, my opinion is that he was perhaps the best studio potter in the Leach tradition who worked in Scotland, and I believe that he deserves to be much better known.  I have about a million questions for your Gran, and if I may I'll PM you in a few days' time to ask the first few of them.

In the meantime, here's a photo of one of my favourites, a superb tenmoku-glazed jug, in use today to display daffodils in the sitting-room.

Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Sharp_10
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Post by skay February 6th 2017, 8:44 pm

r-and-f wrote:........  I have about a million questions for your Gran, and if I may I'll PM you in a few days' time]

Please don't just pm, we all want to know and see!

xx

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Post by r-and-f May 11th 2017, 11:37 pm

Through the contact with Alex Sharp's granddaughter above, I was able to get in touch with Mrs Sharp, and have now met her twice.  She's a very remarkable lady and has given me a huge amount of information about Alex's career, which I'm trying to put together into an article for publication.  And she's also let me acquire some additional pieces for my collection, some made in the early 1950s at St Ives as a pupil of Bernard Leach, some at Bute Pottery between about 1960 and 1985, and some from post-retirement days made in the greenhouse at the bottom of his garden in Glasgow.  Photos of the best pieces follow.

Celadon chawan with a thick drippy glaze, made post-retirement:
Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries P1010110

Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries P1010114   Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries P1010111   Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries P1010118


Small bud vase.  This pot was Alex's special pick from the first firing of the gas kiln at Bute Pottery.
Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries P1010113

Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries P1010112


A small repaired bowl made at St Ives bearing Alex's early seal.
Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries P1010115

Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries P1010116



A large deep Bute Pottery bowl, 10 inches in diameter.
Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries P1010117

Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries P1010122


A fabulous wax resist sunflower-decorated 12-inch charger from Bute Pottery.
Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries P1010119

Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries P1010120


A huge slender 20-inch vase.
Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries P1010123


A charming brown-glazed and decorated figure made at Bute Pottery not by Alex but by his wife Elizabeth, who also made earthenware lustre-glazed jewellery.
Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries P1010121


Elizabeth's oil-on-canvas portrait of Alex holding the celadon chawan, and with the sunflower charger on the table beside him.
Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Alex_s10
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Post by Ricrite October 18th 2017, 10:25 pm

I want to share this large jug on this post. I found it recently across the pond here in Canada at an antique mall in south west Ontario.
It stands an impressive 30cm high and is 20cm wide on the base. The mouth is 10cm wide.
It is stamped as and MP.
That handle is beautiful.Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Img_2512Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Img_0813
Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Img_2416
Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Img_2414
Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Img_2415
Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Img_2513
Alexander (Alex) Sharp, Morar & Bute Potteries Img_2514


Last edited by Ricrite on October 18th 2017, 10:27 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : More photos)
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Post by r-and-f October 18th 2017, 11:25 pm

Wonderful! Probably made by Alex in the early 1950s, not too long after he set up the Morar Pottery, but still very much influenced by his time in St Ives.
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