This 18 cm high, brown stoneware bottle has a thickly applied copper glaze that has been allowed to drip down the body leaving part of the clay bare. The body is short and stocky with a ridged transition to the conical neck. Where copper ions have formed in the crystal during firing, the glaze is a dark red colour punctuated in places with pin holes. At its thickest it is volcanic in texture with a mud colour that matches the brown of the clay. Elsewhere, the more thinly applied glaze has lost its copper and reduced to an opalescent and finely crazed surface that allows the grogging in the clay to show through. The base is inscribed with what looks like a loosely drawn M.
We bought this bottle from a Melbourne auction house in 2006, believing its maker to be Milton Moon. I now have it on the potter’s authority that it isn’t one of his. And here is an interesting dilemma. Our bottle manifests all of the wrong ways of applying a copper glaze if you want a perfect red colour. Knowing its potter, we had confidence that this was deliberate. The uncompromising partly-exposed brown stoneware body and the way the glaze has been manipulated to fold around the neck like a shawl and drip in thick pendants at the base seemed assured. Do we change our view now that we know it was made by mystery potter #13 (M)?