Ursula Mommens

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Post by studio-pots on May 9th 2011, 10:09 pm

No 20th Century Forum can be complete without a mention of the studio potter, Ursula Mommens, who was born in 1908 and lived until she was 101. If nothing else that makes her the British studio potter ,who lived longer than any other during the century, but Ursula was much more than that.

She was the great granddaughter of Charles Darwin and the great great granddaughter of Josiah Wedgwood, who began potting in 1922 and had her last solo exhibition at Contemporary Ceramics when she was 98 years old. She trained at the Royal College of Art under William Staite Murray in the late 1920s, after a recommendation from Charles Vyse, and ran Michael Cardew's pottery at Wenford Bridge for a time during the Second World War.

A retrospective exhibition of her work together with that of her second husband the sculptor, Norman Mommens, is currently being held at the pottery she start in 1951 in South Heighton near Newhaven in Sussex. This exhibition began last weekend and is open every Saturday and Sunday for the rest of May, as well as Spring Bank Holiday Monday, 30th May from 11am to 6pm each day.

The picture of Ursula below was taken during 2002 and I will add some images of her pots in due course.

Ursula Mommens Ursula11
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Post by studio-pots on May 11th 2011, 4:26 pm

As promised a few images of work.

The first is a pair of moulded Festival of Britain flatback figures made by Ursula and Norman when they first moved to the pottery at South Heighton.
Ursula Mommens Festiv10
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Post by studio-pots on May 11th 2011, 4:28 pm

A small stoneware jug by Ursula when in her nineties.

Ursula Mommens Small_10
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Post by studio-pots on May 11th 2011, 4:31 pm

A porcelain posy bowl again when in her nineties - so it is really 21st century!

Ursula Mommens Um_por10
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Post by skipposal on February 24th 2013, 5:03 pm

Ursula Mommens (nee Darwin - hence the UD mark) is one of my favourites too! The work is so well-made and she sells well too Happy
These are ones I won't part with:
Ursula Mommens Dsc01410
Ursula Mommens Dsc01411
Ursula Mommens Dsc01813
Ursula Mommens Dsc01814
Ursula Mommens Dsc01815
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Post by NaomiM on April 25th 2017, 12:59 am

Ursula Mommens vase with ash glaze

Ursula Mommens Img_2915


Ursula Mommens Img_2916 Ursula Mommens Img_2917

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Ursula Mommens Empty Stoneware plate and vase

Post by denbydump on July 23rd 2017, 3:51 pm

I'm pretty sure i bought these two together ages ago. The glazes and brushwork are identical, even the iron oxidation spots.
Although the vase mark is a bit mashed up, and glazed over, I'd be confident lumping the two together.

My initial thought was of course Ursula Mommens, but it doen't look quite right. Any thoughts?

Ursula Mommens 100_3433

Ursula Mommens 100_3434

Ursula Mommens 100_3436

Ursula Mommens 100_3435
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Post by philpot on July 23rd 2017, 4:48 pm

The plate is definitely Ursula ]Mommens. Have some with exactly the same mark.The blue decoration is exactly hers as well. But the glaze inclusion on the vase, not too sure.
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Post by philpot on July 23rd 2017, 5:46 pm

Any chance of that being an M with a C on top? Michael Casson?
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Post by NaomiM on July 23rd 2017, 5:49 pm

Agreed. Ursula Mommens. I think the vase mark is also Mommens' DD type mark

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Post by denbydump on July 23rd 2017, 5:49 pm

Thanks PP. It doesn't quite match the marks in the books which always have
seriphs on the DD.

The glazes are identical but the camera has made the vase a bit yellow!


Last edited by denbydump on July 23rd 2017, 5:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by denbydump on July 23rd 2017, 5:55 pm

Definitely no seriphs.

Ursula Mommens 100_3440
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Post by hercules brabazon on July 23rd 2017, 9:33 pm

I've had this for years, but only realised who made it today. Stoneware storage jar, brushwork decoration, height including the lid about 12cm.

Ursula Mommens Dscf5212

Ursula Mommens Dscf5213
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Post by philpot on May 11th 2019, 6:53 am

Ursula Mommens Img_4514Ursula Mommens Img_4515

A substantial Moon Jar which I was did not want to part with. But in downsizing, that is the bit of heartbreak one has to live with Shrugs
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Post by studio-pots on May 11th 2019, 9:15 am

I hadn't thought about it before but Ursula was a little ahead of her time, as Moon Jars feature in the repertoire of potters today when they never really did in her day.

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