Leach Pottery, St Ives, standard ware range, mortar and pestle

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Post by HelenC August 4th 2021, 2:20 pm

The Leach mark on this small bowl seems clear, but I can’t work out what it actually is. It’s unglazed inside and very heavy, so definitely not tableware even though it’s about soup bowl sized.  I’m assuming a celadon glaze with a little bit of iron breaking through - but what is this bowl for?

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Post by NaomiM August 4th 2021, 5:38 pm

Possibly a glaze test piece

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Post by HelenC August 4th 2021, 5:56 pm

I did wonder about that, but it’s a substantial object to test glaze on. Can’t see that it was made for sale though, I can’t see a use for a bowl like this without internal glazing.

Might make a rather posh cactus pot 🌵🌵
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Post by NaomiM August 4th 2021, 6:11 pm

It doesnt have the finish I'd expect of a Leach piece, but I believe they run pottery courses. Maybe someone has stamped it with the Leach mark as a reminder of their time there.

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Post by HelenC August 4th 2021, 7:43 pm

It has the “England” stamp too, faintly below the Leach mark so I think probably not stamped by a student- but I agree about the finish - the base is rather perfunctory!
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Post by NaomiM August 4th 2021, 8:17 pm

Good eyesight Most Excellent

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Post by HelenC August 4th 2021, 8:19 pm

Magnifying glass 😁. I’ve been IDing miniature studio pottery pots this evening and it’s been invaluable!
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Post by philpot August 4th 2021, 9:22 pm

The England would put it in the 60's, and the marks pretty much in the standard ware range. One could guess an experiment that did not work out? Or a piece that did not fire properly in the kiln?  Every firing usually has its fail pieces, that is just the whim of the kiln firing.


Last edited by philpot on August 5th 2021, 7:17 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by HelenC August 4th 2021, 9:57 pm

The main issue is the sheer weight of the bowl- it’s nicely proportioned but very thickly thrown. That was obvious when made, which is why I’m struggling to see why it was glaze fired anyway!

Interesting to know it can be dated to the 60s, thanks.
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Post by philpot August 5th 2021, 7:24 am

Its the use of both the St Ives mark and England that is curious. That implies it was meant for sale, not a student aberration. A trial with a new type of clay mixture? The standard ware range was meant for hard, everyday use, So strength would be an important feature. At attempt to make them even sturdier?
We have some soup bowls that we have used for years and they still look in perfect condition.
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Post by tenpot August 5th 2021, 8:11 am

mortar and pestle ? sans pestle
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Post by HelenC August 5th 2021, 8:20 am

Oh, that’s a good idea! That would explain the lack of internal glazing - I’ll do a bit of research.
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Post by HelenC August 6th 2021, 10:14 am

Mystery solved, I think - I’ve come across this photo of a 70s mortar  and pestle with a very similar bowl. Thanks for the help!

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Post by NaomiM August 6th 2021, 11:53 am

Most Excellent

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Post by HelenC August 16th 2021, 4:22 pm

A quick update - look what turned up in a job lot of pottery from the same auction room this week! (The pestle - the mortar is the one I asked about.) Same vendor apparently so I’m pretty sure this is a match. Leach Pottery, St Ives, standard ware range, mortar and pestle  0874b310
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Post by NaomiM August 16th 2021, 4:24 pm

Most Excellent

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Post by studio-pots August 16th 2021, 5:35 pm

That was lucky. Leach Pottery, St Ives, standard ware range, mortar and pestle  822202

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Post by tenpot August 17th 2021, 2:21 pm

luckily they sold the mortar first
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Post by Frescobaldi August 17th 2021, 2:30 pm

So are you saying that the pestle and the mortar were separated out and auctioned separately? Good grief! Should we now look for lids auctioned separately from jars, one bookend sold separately from another, cups separated from saucers, and so on?
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Post by NaomiM August 17th 2021, 3:36 pm

If the items are coming from a house clearance then it's entirely possible that pieces will become separated and spread across several auctions.
And I regularly find sets of tableware, or collections of animal figurines, spread across several charity shops.

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Post by HelenC August 17th 2021, 4:20 pm

Yes, this was the “sell by the boxful” type of auction - just occasionally the boxes contain studio pottery rather than the usual dinnerware and ornaments. I’ve got five lovely lids missing their own pots, and three sad lidless pots. Luckily the good stuff makes up for it - and there’s something exciting about picking a 1970s Marks and Spencer vase out of what turns out to be a perfect Walter Keeler pot!
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Post by Frescobaldi August 17th 2021, 4:46 pm

Thank you both... eeeeyes I can see how that would be the case. Also explains why I have a cheese dome with a slightly unexpected plate, and a flagon with a stopper that has a darker glaze. Sigh.
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