Hand-Built Stoneware Vase Unidentified Pottery

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Post by ijkard on April 25th 2019, 2:10 am

Hand-Built Stoneware Vase Unidentified Pottery Hand-b12
Hand-Built Stoneware Vase Unidentified Pottery Hand-b13
The exterior walls of this relatively large (19.2cm Height x 10.7cm Diameter) and heavy vase are quite uneven which creates an impression that it is hand-built. The inside has more regular shape but still there are lots of bumps and furrows that would be uncommon for a thrown pottery.

A built-up of thick and uneven off-white glaze is mainly at the top and in the middle parts of the outside wall, the rest is very thinly glazed that allows the light brown body to show through. The only decoration is just above the rim of the vase in a shape of incised by hand double irregular chevrons.

A rather confident monogram 'CmP' (or 'CMP') is incised to the base. Whether it is the name of the studio pottery or the potter's signature is not clear.

I could not find on the Internet either the signature/pottery mark or any other piece that is stylistically similar to this vase, and would greatly appreciate any help with its identification.
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Post by dantheman on April 25th 2019, 8:14 am

sorry to say this about your very first id request but the base suggests to me it was made by coiling or slab building and is probably the work of a hobby potter

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Post by ijkard on April 26th 2019, 5:02 am

Many thanks for your comment. I totally agree with you that the look of the vase and my description suggest that it was created at he pottery evening classes.

But then again, one should not be unjustifiably condescending about those classes. You know as well as I do that Eileen Mawson, one of the British iconic potters was first introduced to clay at one of those pottery courses which in three years culminated in founding together with Brigitta Goldschmidt the Briglin Pottery. And she was not the only potter starting a professional career from such humble beginnings.

Since I have bought this vase, my opinion about its artistic values and technical execution has changed radically. I have gradually realised that naïve and somewhat clumsy modelling is not exactly what it seems at first sight. In fact, its shape is perfectly classic in a very understated and unpretentious way.

The vase is at least 30-40 years old but I cannot find any visible imperfections on the glaze or stoneware body, either time or manufacturing related. There is no crazing, loss of glaze, firing cracks or any other flaws which can be ever so often observed on some of the pieces from the renowned factories and potteries. The firing is just faultless.

The potter has never attempted to embellish this vase or even imply any modernistic inclinations. On the contrary, he or she chose to employ a hardly noticeable geometric motif of chevrons dating back to the prehistoric North Germanic people, Thule people and other ancient civilisations.

If you were to ask me what I like and praise this piece of pottery for, I would mention that first and foremost it has a strong aesthetic quality and that it is an original and genuine work of art created by someone undoubtedly gifted and with a profound knowledge and deep understanding of different cultures and history of art in particular. And above all, it has a soul of its own, in some pagan inexplicable way.

I do hope very much that there are still a few articles by the same hand out there that would shed more light on this deceptively amateurish vase.
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Post by philpot on April 26th 2019, 7:17 am

I find your comments very interesting. They do raise the very important question, how to we perceive art and beauty? Are those perceptions formed by the unconscious pressure of cultural norms, or by our own individual aesthetics? When do 'professional' and 'amatuer' merge? There are millions of amateur artists and potters, but only a minute number of those are recognised as important 'Artists'.
As a footnote, do you have any original information on Eileen Mawsom? More widely known by her married name of Eileen Lewenstein, who was a very significant potter,critic and editor. According to the Briglin book she came across pottery for the first time when while doing a Teacher's training course at The Cental school of Arts which was taught by Gilbert Harding and Don Mills. In 1945 she got a teaching job at ther Derby School of Art where she further taught by R.J.Washington, who was a very significant potter in his own right. In 1946 she moved back to London, where she worked with Donald Mills as a full time potter for two years. In that light,she was no amateur when she started Briglin pottery with Brigitte Appleby.
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Post by NaomiM on April 26th 2019, 11:48 am

It looks like a 60s-70s clay and glaze, and the P on the end of CMP could be Pottery which implies it was one of the unrecorded Potteries from that era rather than a student. People could get government grants to set up in craft cooperatives in tourist areas; they were ‘one man/woman bands’ and potted for a decade or so before retiring.
Some ran pottery classes, eg:

https://www.20thcenturyforum.com/t21149-slab-rolled-vase-dorothy-stopes-kentigern-pottery-st-asaph-wales


Last edited by NaomiM on April 26th 2019, 11:58 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by NaomiM on April 26th 2019, 11:53 am

There’s also a small chance it’s from somewhere like Australia where “pioneer potters” tried setting up Potteries in the bush in the 40s-70s where they lacked equipment and had crudely built kilns. They didn’t follow the Leach tradition of stamps and instead signed or initialled their work.

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Post by ijkard on April 29th 2019, 7:26 am

Re: A comment by NaomiM on April 26th 2019, 11:48 am: "It looks like a 60s-70s clay and glaze, and the P on the end of CMP could be Pottery..."

In my opinion, the slab rolled vase with white glaze does have a lot in common with my vase. The glaze is nearly identical, the design is fairly minimalistic and there is also some influence by Japanese ceramics which would be characteristic of 1960s.

Even though nothing is so far for certain, it is quite reassuring to learn that someone worked in a similar manner, whether it was Dorothy Stopes herself or one-man/woman pottery from the Guild of North Wales Potters.

Thank you very much for helping with my research.
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Post by ijkard on April 29th 2019, 8:02 am

Re: A comment by NaomiM on April 26th 2019, 11:53 am: "There’s also a small chance it’s from somewhere like Australia..."

I think that the North Wales origin is much more likely than Australian. The Australian pieces that I have seen so far are mainly inspired by their own Aboriginal heritage rather than by Japanese or British styles.

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Post by ijkard on April 29th 2019, 8:57 am

Re: A comment by philpot on April 26th 2019, 7:17 am: "I find your comments very interesting..."

I only wanted to emphasise that when it comes to fine art (as you know both William Staite Murray and Robert Johnson Washington regarded the craft of pottery no less than fine art), it is quite immaterial, in my view, whether a fledgling potter attends the Royal College of Art, pottery evening classes or for that matter practical classes of the Central School of Arts and Crafts.

In my opinion, it is more about natural gift and retaining originality, i.e. being relatively immune to the domineering mentor even such a good one as R. J. Washington.

As regards the chronological details of the Eileen Mawson's career, I have used a slightly simplified version in order to concentrate on the main subject-matter.
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Post by dantheman on April 29th 2019, 9:24 am

of all the arts, pottery is the least dependent on formal training to produce an aesthetically pleasing piece.
I have several pots by virtually untrained hand builders and they mix seamlessly with those made by celebrated potters.

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Post by studio-pots on May 2nd 2019, 8:27 pm

The pot appears to "stand well" and the glaze looks rather complex, which suggests to me that it wasn't made by someone just starting out...…………. unless they got lucky!!!

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Post by ijkard on May 4th 2019, 5:52 am

Re: A comment by studio-pots on May 2nd 2019, 8:27 pm: "The pot appears to "stand well" and the glaze looks rather complex..."

Thank you for your comment, it gives me some hope that sooner or later I may come by a piece from this potter.
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Post by dantheman on May 4th 2019, 6:39 am

the base mark is C ? A P now if we could guess the second letter it may tell us what we need to know

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