I’ve just been browsing through the catalogue for Shapiro’s forthcoming auction, Australian Studio Ceramics 1910-1990, and I was pleased to find a section at the end with pictures of many of the potters’ marks. This will make it a useful research tool long after the pots themselves have been dispersed to new homes. How useful will depend on how easy it is for people to access it over time. Last year’s Australian studio ceramics catalogue is still on the Shapiro website, but chances are that, sooner or later, the webmaster will need more space and suggest removing old content, or something else will happen that puts ongoing access at risk.
All of Leonard Joel’s old catalogues were lost from public view when Leonard Joel was bought by Bonhams and Goodman last year, and the website was migrated to the Bonhams and Goodman format and search software. As a result, the links suddenly broke in my blog entry on the 2007 Marvin Hurnall auction. Broken links may not seem very important when implementing a new website, but auction catalogues and the images they contain are primary sources for art historians, and it is sad to see them vanish so easily from view. (On the bright side, the Leonard Joel catalogues are much easier to search now.)