This platter made of an unusual brown stoneware is 4.5 cm high and 37.5 cm in diameter. The sand-coloured glaze applied over an iron oxide base, breaks to brown at the edges, and to a brown shadow where it has been thinly applied. Incised lines define the rim and base, on which a stylised gum tree has been painted in oxides, giving an overall sepia effect.
On the side is a small high-relief medallion with an impressed asterisk or eight-spoked wheel. The seller, who lives in Melbourne, acquired it in the 1980s but couldn’t remember the maker.
Buyers of contemporary Australian pottery on eBay will know this seller well as pdubooks. He has been gradually disposing of a large collection of commercial and studio pottery amassed mainly from Victorian sources in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, and salted down in tea chests. He sold us one of the first items we bought on eBay in 2004, and we have been regular customers ever since.
His listings often contain small snippets of knowledge which I have been assiduously recording in my database. He is also the source of quite a few of my mystery potters. He must have visited a large number of outlets selling pottery during his collecting years, buying pieces that pleased him, not necessarily by well-known makers.
I was glad to handle this platter again when I unpacked it, and wondered again who was using such a distinctive mark. Perhaps I will know by the time we open the gallery in the Spring…