Mystery potter #17: EL (?)

EL (?), Wine set.

EL (?), Wine set. Mark

This jug with its three matching goblets is inscribed on the base with the initials ‘EL’ (?). We bought it as a set on eBay last month. The seller, who comes from Brisbane, thinks that it was made in Queensland. None of the three ‘EL’ potters in my database (Emily Laszuk, Elva Linnemann and Elizabeth Lyon) seem likely candidates. Laszuk (formerly Emily Stackman) and Lyon are well-established potters based in NSW and WA respectively. Linnemann, who won the Walker Ceramic Award cash prize in 1986, trained at the Tasmanian School of Art.

Hundreds of such sets are listed on eBay each year and many more must still reside in kitchen cupboards or dressers. We bought this one (which may once have had six goblets) because of its distinctive style. It is made out of white clay and glazed a dusky speckled pink that looks like porphyry. The ivory glaze on the inside of the goblets cuffs the rim with a visually pleasing irregular line. The jug, which is shaped like a ewer, is half-glazed in the same ivory colour and has a carved band of decoration where the two colours join.

Malcom Cooke, Pair of goblets

Goblets formed part of the repertoire of almost every potter with a production line in the 1970s and 1980s. In their simplest form they are easy to make (without problematic handles) and must have sold well too. Whether customers actually used them is another question, but I can attest that a well-made goblet can lead to a good drinking experience. While our furniture was on its way to Bemboka, David and I spent the night in the house we are renting with a bottle of red wine and a set of Malcolm Cooke Cuppacumbalong goblets that we had just found at the Canberra tip shop. Like the ‘EL’ goblets, they were comfortable to hold and made an interesting change from glass.


One comment

  1. Hi! I attended a Deceased Estate sale at
    Moorooka Ipswich approx 6 weeks ago. It was
    a sale of E.L’s Estate conducted by her son.
    There were numerous items of pottery and embroidery for sale. I purchased 3 items
    of pottery and some embroidery. She was a very accomplised potter, and lived to be 83
    years old. Regards Bill.

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