Our new life as gallery owners

Garry Bish. Persian vase

We have been gallery owners for three weeks now, and the tenor of our lives has changed in subtle ways. On the days we are open, we both still take a leisurely breakfast together, sipping coffee and doing crosswords. At about 9.30 am, David washes up and tidies things away, while I drive up to the highway with the sandwich board to let visitors know where we are. Then we settle down to our various interests, with half an ear cocked to the sound of a car turning into the driveway.

It is early in the season and, so far, we have been receiving only a few visitors each day, but our lives are being enriched by new acquaintances. We are getting to know our neighbours and their weekend visitors. Friends have driven down from Canberra. Several potters have already called in, and we hope to see more as word-of-mouth spreads.

I am happy to report that the gallery seems to be a hit as a destination. The house itself is an attraction, with its large, light-filled spaces, and its views of the mountains and the trees lining the river. For those not really interested in pottery, there is still pleasure to be had in admiring our ‘grand design’, touring the displays and talking about things in general. Those really interested in the collection linger to explore our back rooms, share knowledge and reminisce.

We have made a few sales from the gallery but it is probably a good thing that we are not wholly dependent on visitors to the gallery to build up our capital for new purchases.  There are now over 200 pieces listed in our online shop, and we are starting to sell online, and to make trips to the Post Office with carefully packaged items.

Eric Juckert. Jug

In both the gallery and the online shop, we aim to be very clear about the condition of items.  After a few false starts, we have learned not to trust our database records, and to inspect each item very carefully before listing it. This handsome Eric Juckert jug, described as in good condition when we bought it on eBay in 2005, turned out to have a repair under the rim near the handle, and had to be described and priced accordingly.

One might think that undeclared damage is one of the risks of buying online, but in practice, there are protections on eBay if an item arrives ‘not as described’. By contrast, auction houses generally sell on an ‘as is’ basis, leaving the onus on buyers to inspect lots at presale viewings. This can mean some unexpected surprises for absentee bidders.

As things change hands, just as the memory of the maker may be lost, so too may be the memory of a repair, and I don’t think the seller of the Juckert jug was aware that it had been damaged. It is human nature to fix things, and to do as good a job as possible.  We bought the Garry Bish vase at the head of this entry at an exhibition at Narek Galleries in the late 1980s. It hadn’t been long in our collection before one of us knocked it over and broke the side-piece off at the neck. Of course we glued it back on, with no intention to deceive. While it stays in our collection we will continue to value it as if it were whole, but it will have to be remaindered if it is ever put up for sale.

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10 comments

  1. Hi,
    I have been a losing bidder to drofe many times over the past on ebay. However I can now see what you were trying to do so I take back those comments I muttered at the time.
    My particular interest is in collecting Eric Juckert pieces, but I have also gathered together a wider range of mainly 50’s to 80’s Australian pottery.

    My interest in Juckert started by accident about 35 years ago when visiting friends on Phillip Island and we went to Eric’s pottery there. I bought one piece and gave it to my mother.
    Then in 2003 I bought a book from pdubooks on ebay and happened to see an item by Juckert. Things just rolled on from there and my collection has just gone on to be a little out of control. But I must say that it has been a fascinating experience . I have no idea about making pottery but do love the texture, colour and design that these inspired potters produce.

    Of course if I am ever in your area I will have a look at your beautiful collection. I live in South Australia and don’t usually travel to Sydney that way.

    In the meantime please keep up the blog and the display which I will obviously visit when time allows.

    Kind regards

    Judy Schmarr

    1. Hi there, I was selling a few pieces of Australiana to a dealer who said if I ever come across any Eric Juckert to grab them for him. Last weekent I was lucky enough to find two perfect condition lamp bases with the original lamp shades.The vase part of the lamp bases are 8 inches high,cream in colour with applied tree decorations.( Raised ) the lamps with their shades are 21.5 inches high.Would you know the value of them please as I would like to sell them,Best regards Paul

      1. Hi Paul, lamp bases with their original shades don’t come up very often, and are likely to do well, but I haven’t the expertise to say more. Monitoring completed listings on eBay will give you an idea of how much buyers are prepared to pay for other Juckert pieces.

  2. Eric was my mum’s uncle.I have a few of his things at home………some in perfect nick, one or two others a bit dodgy.As a kid we used to go to Ventnor on Phillips Island and visit Eric…..I used to like the woodwork he did.he gave me a great boomerang which i broke soon after!

  3. hi
    l have been a collector of Eric Juckerts pottery for a few years now but find l havent the space to keep them, can any one tell me what value eric juckerts pottery is as l would like to start putting it on ebay.

  4. Hi Judith, Thanks for the info and your time. I have been monitoring EBay but there are only two peaces of the top eng quality that he produced on EBay and I would consider these lamps as some of his top end pottery. One selling for $400 The other for $800 Would you have an idea for my starting price or where I could get them professionally valued. Best regards Brigette PS any help will be grately recived

    1. Hi Brigette, most auction houses that specialise in decorative arts have valuation services, usually for a fee unless you decide to sell the item through them. If you are planning to sell on eBay, start at what you would be prepared to accept if there was only one bidder.

  5. I live down the street from where Eric lived and have researched his life as I am to a potter. I meet Eric only a few times before his passsing. I have collected some of his older work. His private collection was left to his friend Frank who I believe catolgued it.
    Heather

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