Mystery potter #13: M

Bottle with copper glaze Bottle with copper glaze. Mark

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)?

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6 comments

  1. This looks a bit like work produced at Kairi Pottery NQ in the 1980’s and 90’s. Can’t be sure without a closer look, but the clay body we used looks identical

  2. THE ARTISTS’NAME WITH THE SIGNATURE OF INITIALS,BELONG TO A POTTER BY THE NAME OF TED SECOMBE. I HAVE TWO POTS WITH SAME INITIALED SIGNATURE AND DESCRIPTION,AND I FOUND THE ARTISTS NAME ON A WEB SITE,BUT I DONT RECALL WHICH ONE IT WAS.IF I COME ACROSS IT AGAIN(whichIshould do)I SHALL LEAVE YOU A MESSAGE WITH THE WEBSITE NAME AND PAGE.HOPE THIS IS OF SOME HELP TO YOU. REGARDS DEANNE-A POTTERY ENTHUSIAST(australian)RE;MYSTERY POTTER NO.13#

  3. Hi Deanne, we have quite a few pots by Ted Secombe and he usually inscribes his works with the initials ES – very angular – as in this example:

  4. I’ve just “lost” my favourite Kairi Pottery vase/urn (about 55cms tall) which was given to me by my students when I was teaching in Atherton near Kairi….is there ANYWHERE I could find a replacement…..?

    1. Paolo, how unfortunate to lose this! We do have a few Kairi Pottery pieces in our collection, but nothing anywhere near this size, and I don’t think that the pottery is still active. You could try setting up a saved search on eBay in the hope that something will turn up on the secondary market. The noticeboard at the Kairi Post Office might put you in touch with someone who can help you fnd a replacement, or perhaps the Cairns Potters Club might have a few ideas.

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