Sworders 20th Century Art & Design Sales

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Post by philpot December 29th 2021, 9:14 am

I dug out the catalogue that Studio mentions. I bought it when viewing the exhibition when it was at Portsmouth Museum in 1998. Yikes, that seems a long time ago! There are five 'modellings' refered to, 2 of which are illustrated. All produced circa 1993-95.
After coming out of the War in 1946, Washington spent most of his career an an Inspector in Art Education in the Essex area. He retired in 1979, and only then resumed a potting career. His production in the early eighties seems to hark back strongly to where his career was in the late 30's.
A lot of the pots in the Sworders sale seem to be from that early 80's period. So in fact you have a pot that is now already 40 years old, harking back to a potting style that is over 80 years old. So what type of collector is going to buy them? They look fantastic pieces, but pieces out of their natural time and place. The older collectors are now passing away or not collecting, and the younger collectors probably find them just rather old fashioned.
I am sure they would have a market. But not at the reserve price levels in this sale. The market however would probably more as an historical side-bar rather than a centre of a collection.
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Post by croker December 29th 2021, 12:25 pm

Hi Philpot, The same thoughts had occurred to me before i bought my first piece of his, they look like they belong to a different time, but i suppose when he resumed potting he automatically carried on with his old style before he realised this was no longer in vogue but then i guess he tried his hand at what he thought would be more current ,experimenting with mixed media and colour, which in my opinion was interesting but not successful. I still think his tall pots are worthy of a place in a representative collection of studio pottery (at the right price) even if most of the decoration on them them is a little out of their time. As you say just who is going to buy this lot at these reserves if indeed they are reserved .
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Post by studio-pots December 29th 2021, 2:12 pm

I think that I mentioned earlier that Su Washington told me that when he retired he threw all of the pots here and biscuit fired them. They were to "see him out", which they did.

Apparently up until early 1997 he was still decorating these pots or redecorating ones that he wasn't happy with. I also remember a few that had not been decorated at all in his studio area. Note - before retiring he had kept hundreds of chickens (I assume on a commercial basis) and his studio was in part of the shed area where the chickens had been.

In the retrospective catalogue there is an example of a pot thrown in 1980/1 and decorated in 1997 with abstract decoration in bright colours.


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Post by philpot December 29th 2021, 2:47 pm

Yes indeed. Lots 27-30 in the catalogue were made in the early 80's and redecorated in the late 90's.. The pot Studio refers to is no 30, which is illustrated. From the photo (mind you there is only a certain amount you can tell from a photo) it looks a bit of a failure. The glazing and decoration just look rather odd.
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