Leach Pottery, St Ives, Yunomi with mystery H mark

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Post by Neil62 October 29th 2023, 7:44 pm

Good evening,
I have conversed with a few people about this pot mainly about whether Andrew Holden ever worked at the Leach.
My view is that it is Andrew Holdens mark which coincides with BISPM but I can’t find any reference to him working before 1970.
The England mark is good evidence and the Leach mark is very clear.
Any contrary views that it isn’t by Andrew Holden?
I have seen a goblet identified on here has AH with a similar ash glaze.
My thought is that by the time he started work in Devon at 26 yrs (1970) he could have worked at the Leach?Leach Pottery, St Ives, Yunomi with mystery H mark  Image66
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Post by NaomiM October 29th 2023, 7:57 pm

Looks recent; made some time in the 2000s, imo

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Post by Neil62 October 29th 2023, 8:26 pm

Hi Naomi,
I’d forgotten to include another photograph which I’ll do now - I knew I could only get three on then got distracted by Antiques Roadshow!!
My apologies the ENGLAND mark makes it much earlier. I bought it blind as Roleof Uys and quickly realised its not by him and Andrew Holden would fit IF he had worked at Leach


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Post by NaomiM October 29th 2023, 10:32 pm

Peter Hardy and Nick Harrison were at Leach St Ives in the 70s

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Post by Neil62 October 29th 2023, 11:29 pm

Thanks Naomi I will contact Nic Harrison though if Andrew worked there it would have been in the 60’s as he was potting in Devon from 1970 - worth a try though
Thanks for your time.
Neil62


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Post by philpot October 30th 2023, 7:02 am

The Antiques roadshow was a repeat! I think the  L.S Lowry would have been the better selection!
        You really do find these Neil! As Naomi says, it looks so modern! If you has asked me blindly I would have said Mike Dodd.
         They were pretty strict back then who they let mark stuff! I know.....! Drum Roll!  Atsuya Hamada with a anglicised version of his mark, as a joke!
          All joshing aside. I would love to know the mystery!


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Post by Neil62 October 30th 2023, 7:43 am

Thanks Philpot …..I do try!!
I’ll let you know if Nic responds and what he says. Love the challenge hate the frustration, but it’s a great way to learn.
I did think he overvalued the BL piece but I didn’t know how long ago the show was from…… anyway another story!
Kind regards
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Post by NaomiM October 30th 2023, 11:19 am

The photo of the marks isn't expanding. Is it just a letter H in the stamp?

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Post by Neil62 October 30th 2023, 3:24 pm

Hi Naomi,
Sorry for my tardy response I’ve been away from home until now..
I think the best way to describe it is as very similar to the second of the two marks shown for AH. I would describe it as a H with the downward ‘’legs” bowed in towards one another in the middle and bisected with a straight line.
The other thing of note which puts me off AH is that there are bulges (similar to serifs) on one end of each of the downward strokes of the H (opposite ends) and on the right hand side of the cross stroke ….I’ll see if I can get the photo clearer
Kind regards
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Post by Neil62 October 30th 2023, 3:45 pm

philpot wrote:The Antiques roadshow was a repeat! I think the  L.S Lowry would have been the better selection!
        You really do find these Neil! As Naomi says, it looks so modern! If you has asked me blindly I would have said Mike Dodd.
         They were pretty strict back then who they let mark stuff! I know.....! Drum Roll!  Atsuya Hamada with a anglicised version of his mark, as a joke!
          All joshing aside. I would love to know the mystery!


Hi Studio,
All joshing aside……I looked at Atsuya’s work and you know what…… I think you are correct and if not it’s a good bet.
I’ve been out all day so I haven’t finished looking for one of his Japanese marks.
I’ve noticed that one of the ends on each of the three ‘strokes’ is bulbous in comparison to the other end - as attached.
But there are a few clues suggesting your attribution could be correct.
1.  Other yunomis known to be by him similar in Incised decoration which is severe on my little pot presumably to get the glaze to form there.
2.  There is mention on the listings when these items came up at auction (mainly from Richard Barterham’s estate) that some were stamped with the Leach stamp but no further details.
3.  In the Wingfield Digby collection there were a couple of yunomis both c. 1958 which mention having the ENGLAND stamp on the footring / side of the foot ring. Whilst not totally convincing it is strange that a visitor from Japan would stamp ENGLAND on his work though it was one of his ambition’s apparently so there is additional kudos I suppose for doing it.
4.  The decoration aside from the severe incisions are not dissimilar to known works.
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Post by NaomiM October 30th 2023, 4:18 pm

Due to copyright issues, please just post the URL links to the finished auctions rather than screenshotting the photos.

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Post by studio-pots October 31st 2023, 11:50 am

Although there is a suggestion above that I have already commented on this yunomi, I thought that I would add what I know or think I know based on looking at all of the available evidence.

1. There is no evidence that Andrew Holden worked at the Leach Pottery and, if he had, it would have been at a time that living potters did work there and so I can't see that he wouldn't have been mentioned to Marion Whybrow during the research for the two editions of her book about the Leach Pottery.

2. Elsewhere I have mentioned a small vase with a stylised A mark (+ the Leach Pottery mark) that I showed to Bill Marshall thinking that it might have been made by Atsuya Hamada. Bill didn't know and couldn't remember if Atsuya used a personal seal on any of the pots that he made at the Leach Pottery. Bill was Atsuya's line manager and also a friend of his. There were a number of pieces in a recent sale that came from the house of Richard Batterham that were catalogued as being by Atsuya Hamada from his time at the Leach Pottery. I have no doubt that this information is correct but none of these pieces had a personal seal. Several had no mark at all and others the Leach Pottery seal only, despite them not being part of the Standard Ware range. We know at this time Atsuya's father and brother didn't mark their work and so from this evidence it tends to suggest that Atsuya never used a personal seal either. Of course, it doesn't prove it but to me that looks to be the most likely answer with all the evidence that we have currently at our disposal. Philpot making a joke and comparison of photographs of pots isn't evidence.

3. I have checked my old stock books and in early 1996 I bought 7 pieces of Leach Pottery that all had personal seals as well as the Leach Pottery seal. The person that I bought them from said that they were bought directly from the Leach Pottery in the late 1970s (I think it might have been by the seller's parents). These included two items by Jason Wason (J W seal), one by the Canadian potter, Robert Fishman (I assume that it had RF but my stock book doesn't show that) and the other four were marked as follows:

Leach Pottery, St Ives, Yunomi with mystery H mark  Nic_le10

At some point after that date I have a note that it was Nic Harrison's mark at the time but I do not know where that information came from or if it was just base on the fact that he was the only potter working there with an N in either of his names.

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Post by Neil62 October 31st 2023, 12:04 pm

My apologies Studio I think I got my pots mixed up which is not ideal given the location!!
Almost all of the photographs I posted but didn’t due to copywrite issues were from the sale you refer to and also two yunomis from the Wingfield Digby book which makes reference to how Atsuya used the England mark on the side of the footring which is the same as on mine.
I did consider contacting Nic Harrison but given that he started work there potentially a decade or more after this was produced I didn’t see the point.
If this is by Atsuya then it would probably have been 57-58 way before Nics time.
Sorry for getting you pots confused …. In my defence I have some work on which is draining what limited brain cells I have!!!
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Post by Neil62 October 31st 2023, 12:40 pm

Further to the above I rechecked the entries from the Richard Batterham sale and I thought that at least one of the yunomis was signed but it was that old devil semantics again - it describes the first Yunomi and then adds for the second one in the lot as another similar unsigned. Whilst I accept that the meaning was they were both unsigned (ie similar) I thought it was saying the first signed the second of a similar design was unsigned. I know the Old story about following a thought it was a etc……….
My collection seems to have more unknowns than knowns……I’ll put it on the shelf with the L: and the large vase.
Regarding Andrew Holden I recognise there is no record of him working at Leach, however, he started work at the pottery in Devon in 1970 at the age of 26. I can’t remember where I read it but I think he had been in India prior to that but his mark (the one on the right in the book) is pretty much an identical impressed mark to mine. I don’t mean the one with the slightly curved middle cross bar!
One of the issues which I don’t think anyone has categorically answered (and maybe it’s impossible!!) is when did they start using the England stamp and when did it finish, which would give a possible date range.
A pal who catalogued the potters at Leach suggested someone who eventually became mayor but I can’t find any record of him anywhere other than as Mayor!

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Post by studio-pots October 31st 2023, 1:01 pm

There has been suggestions that your yunomi was made at the former Leach Pottery by potters that have worked in the premises this century. It might be worth finding out if an ENGLAND stamp has been used at any time by this new venture that uses the old Leach Pottery seal.

I have used the wording intentionally because things that have been made on the premises since Trevor Corser left have nothing to do with the Leach Pottery started by Bernard leach and Shoji Hamada in 1920.

I accept that the mark on your yunomi and a mark of Andrew Holden's look the same but without anything else it is meaningless. There have been many instances of potters using similar/the same marks over the years.

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Post by NaomiM October 31st 2023, 1:09 pm

I did consider contacting Nic Harrison but given that he started work there potentially a decade or more after this was produced I didn’t see the point.

In BSPM book, Nic was training at the Leach Pottery 1979-81. They stopped using the England stamp and making Standard ware after Bernard's death in 1979

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Post by Neil62 October 31st 2023, 1:18 pm

NaomiM wrote:
I did consider contacting Nic Harrison but given that he started work there potentially a decade or more after this was produced I didn’t see the point.

In BSPM book, Nic was training at the Leach Pottery 1979-81. They stopped using the England stamp and making Standard ware after Bernard's death in 1979
Hence why I didn’t see the point he was the last Leach apprentice.
Where did you get the date for them stopping using the England stamp in 1979?
My understanding was it was earlier, much earlier.
I accept the standardware production stopped in 1979 after BL passed but I have lots of standardware produced without the stamp.
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Post by Neil62 October 31st 2023, 1:31 pm

studio-pots wrote:There has been suggestions that your yunomi was made at the former Leach Pottery by potters that have worked in the premises this century. It might be worth finding out if an ENGLAND stamp has been used at any time by this new venture that uses the old Leach Pottery seal.

I have used the wording intentionally because things that have been made on the premises since Trevor Corser left have nothing to do with the Leach Pottery started by Bernard leach and Shoji Hamada in 1920.

I accept that the mark on your yunomi and a mark of Andrew Holden's look the same but without anything else it is meaningless. There have been many instances of potters using similar/the same marks over the years.

Hi Studio,
I’m at a loss with your last paragraph ‘the mark on the pot is meaningless’ what is the point of the BISPM?
That means that all pottery marks are a waste of time without some dna proof - I’m sorry but this is a very simple Yunomi not a work by Picasso.
It is relatively speaking old, why would someone use an old leach stamp, an old England stamp and an old stamp for Andrew Holden to make a Yunomi worth £20?

I wouldn’t totally agree the mark is identical - closer inspection revealed the ends of the characters / lines are more bulbous (not a serif but similar) on one end than the other.

Who would you ask regarding the use of an England stamp to make a lot look as if it was old ie a forgery.
I suspect there won’t be many takers for that suggestion … and I accept it is nothing more!
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Post by NaomiM October 31st 2023, 1:34 pm

The England stamp has been discussed on various threads on the Forum

Other studio potters were using the England stamp in the 70s and possibly 60s and 80s. It wasn't restricted to the Leach Pottery


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Post by studio-pots October 31st 2023, 2:28 pm

Neil62 wrote:
studio-pots wrote:............................

I accept that the mark on your yunomi and a mark of Andrew Holden's look the same but without anything else it is meaningless. There have been many instances of potters using similar/the same marks over the years.

Hi Studio,
I’m at a loss with your last paragraph ‘the mark on the pot is meaningless’ what is the point of the BISPM?
That means that all pottery marks are a waste of time without some dna proof - I’m sorry but this is a very simple Yunomi not a work by Picasso.
It is relatively speaking old, why would someone use an old leach stamp, an old England stamp and an old stamp for Andrew Holden to make a Yunomi worth £20?


I didn't mean that marks were meaningless per se but that they are meaningless without anything else to identify them. For example there are numerous teabowls and yunomis being sold in Japan now with a Leach Pottery mark and a BL mark, stating that they were made by Bernard Leach. If you look at the seals you would say that they are correct. However, if you look at the stoneware body; the age of the stoneware body; the glazes used and the decoration on some (not all are decorated i.e. just glazed) then, if you had seen and handled Bernard Leach's work, you ought to be of the opinion that the marks are meaningless.

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Post by Neil62 October 31st 2023, 3:04 pm

studio-pots wrote:
Neil62 wrote:
studio-pots wrote:............................

I accept that the mark on your yunomi and a mark of Andrew Holden's look the same but without anything else it is meaningless. There have been many instances of potters using similar/the same marks over the years.

Hi Studio,
I’m at a loss with your last paragraph ‘the mark on the pot is meaningless’ what is the point of the BISPM?
That means that all pottery marks are a waste of time without some dna proof - I’m sorry but this is a very simple Yunomi not a work by Picasso.
It is relatively speaking old, why would someone use an old leach stamp, an old England stamp and an old stamp for Andrew Holden to make a Yunomi worth £20?


I didn't mean that marks were meaningless per se but that they are meaningless without anything else to identify them. For example there are numerous teabowls and yunomis being sold in Japan now with a Leach Pottery mark and a BL mark, stating that they were made by Bernard Leach. If you look at the seals you would say that they are correct. However, if you look at the stoneware body; the age of the stoneware body; the glazes used and the decoration on some (not all are decorated i.e. just glazed) then, if you had seen and handled Bernard Leach's work, you ought to be of the opinion that the marks are meaningless.

I just typed out a reply but lost it Studio so I apologise if it is repeated!

I do not dispute that there are forgers around who con unsuspecting individuals. I bought a BL forgery from an auction in Birmingham and luckily got my money back.
That said, I cannot see the premise of an argument that because some criminals decided to forge items using a BL seal and St Ives stamp to make something purporting to be by BL and worth several hundred pounds to someone making a Yunomi with not two seals but three and purporting it to be by Andrew Holden and worth a fraction in terms of monetary value of the BL piece.
I am not an expert in pottery or potters but criminality after over 4 decades I suppose I’ve earned that badge and it just wouldn’t happen.
If they wanted to purport it was made by Atsuya then they would have left no individual stamp!
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Post by studio-pots October 31st 2023, 3:52 pm

Your last post isn't a reply to anything that I have written but an argument with yourself, Neil.


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Post by Neil62 October 31st 2023, 3:56 pm

studio-pots wrote:Your last post isn't a reply to anything that I have written but an argument with yourself, Neil.


Presumably the only conceivable reason for mentioning forgeries and stamps for BL was to suggest the same could be true of my pot.
My opinion and the reason for de is missing that suggestion is as above!
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Post by studio-pots October 31st 2023, 4:18 pm

You are completely incorrect and I don't think I can be any clearer in what I wrote.

P.S. Is this a re-run of the Monty Python argument sketch?

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Post by Neil62 October 31st 2023, 4:25 pm

I’m not going to answer that mostly because I can’t remember it …..though I was a fan!!
The sketch which has recently been doing the rounds is the one where one of the men decides he wants to give birth ……how prophetic was that!!!
The decision was that although he couldn’t give birth he had the right to do so…….mint!
Good closure on a discussion with differing opinions. I’m not going to give up on it just yet though previous experience has taught me some things can’t be solved!
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