I’ve been hard at work over the last few months adding biographies and listing items from our current exhibition before I have to pack them up to make room for next season’s exhibition. Also, as part of work-in-progress on Australian Potters’ Marks, I’ve been writing biographies for potters represented in our collection.
The Rhonda Boehm biography is not new, but Marianne Cole, who paid us a visit last month, was able to provide me with lots of additional information as well as helping me to identify this mystery pot as one of Rhonda’s made when she was still Rhonda Longbottom.
This small spherical vase with short collared neck has a dark red glaze allowed to drip thickly at the base leaving the clay partially exposed. On one side is a circular decorative panel with a crackled ivory glaze and soft floral motifs in the same dark red colour. The vase is clearly stamped with the potter’s monogram, which looks like a reversed “R” sharing a stem with the letter “B”.
A large number of potters have the initials “RB”. All I can say with confidence is that this is not the signature I have recorded for Rick Ball, Robert Barron, Rolf Bartz, Robert Beck, Robin Best or Richard Brooks.
Monograms are often hard to read and I’m still not certain this says “RB”.
A fellow collector has let me know that this is the mark of the South Australian potter Rhonda Boehm. She is briefly mentioned in Pottery in Australia, 25/4(1984): 60 as a member of the Potters’ Guild of SA, specialising in coloured clay slips and dry glazes over carved white clay. There is a picture of a stoneware vase in this style in Norris Ioannou’s Ceramics in South Australia 1836-1986, p. 287, incised ‘Boehm’. She also produced work under her maiden name Rhonda Longbottom, using an impressed ‘RL’ mark, with the R inside the L.