Mystery potter #32: Maureen Leach

M. Leach. Lidded pot. Inside view

M. Leach. Lidded pot. Mark

This wheel-thrown lidded pot is made of a rich brown stoneware clay. It has been glazed on the inside in a winter green colour but left unglazed on the outside, except for the tops of the handles and the edge of the lid.  On the base the name of the potter  – ‘M Leach’ – is painted in a cursive hand.

We have only one Australian potter in our database with the surname Leach – Judy Leach, who was a visiting student at Purdue University, USA,  in 1981 (Pottery in Australia, 21/1, 1982, p.43).  David and I did wonder, with no real knowledge, if the potter could have been Michael Leach (1913-1985), Bernard Leach’s younger son, but his entry on the Pottery Studio website suggests that he marked his work with an impressed ‘Y’ for Yelland Pottery.

We listed this pot on eBay a few months ago with a reserve of $49.99 to see if someone might recognise the mark. Although we had quite a few watchers, the listing went through without a bid. We were quite pleased that it didn’t sell. It has a quality that we would like to live with for a while. We have grouped it on the bookshelf behind the counter with a Harold Hughan jar, a Shigeo Shiga bottle and a few other pieces by mystery potters in a similar style. Hopefully, either a gallery visitor or a reader of this blog will come by some day and greet this work as an old friend.

Postscript: A reader has let me know (see comments) that this is the work of Maureen Leach, a Melbourne potter who trained at the Potters’ Cottage studio in Warrandyte and, with a group of [seven] other potters, set up the Stonehouse Pottery shop as an outlet for their work.

The shop, which opened in 1972,  was originally housed in the old Warrandyte Selby General Store on Jumping Creek Road, but relocated in 2005 to the Gospel Chapel building on Yarra Street. It is now called the Stonehouse Gallery and represents the work of textile artists, painters and jewellers as well as potters.

Advertisements

5 comments

  1. The M. Leach pot that you show was made by Maureeen Leach a Melbourne based potter who was one of a group of women potters who set up The Stone House Pottery shop in Warrandyte in the late 60’s- early 70’s. I recognise the work because it is similar to some pieces she made for me in 1970-2.
    I came to know her during the 70’s. She was trained in the Potters Cottage Studios in Warrandyte …..her class mates included Dulcie Heard. About 4-5 women who studied together formed a partnership and opened the Stonehouse Pottery Shop in Jumping Creek Road which they used as an outlet for their work.

    Kerry Holland has introduced me to this website……I am grateful to her for doing this…It is most interesting and illuminating. I have been a collector since the late 60’s when I studied art and ceramics at Prahran Tech and RMIT and have enjoyed seeing some of the pieces posted here.

    1. Hi Teresa, thank you so much for this information. I love having a mystery potter entry solved. I see that the Stonehouse Pottery shop has now become the Stonehouse Gallery and represents a wider range of crafts. Penny Cearns, who still exhibits there, was another of the original eight potters. I’ll see if I can find out who the others were!

  2. Hi Judith,
    Teresa introduced me to her neighbour yesterday who was selling some of her pottery collection. I have bought a Maureen Leach water Jug from her. It is made of similar brown stoneware clay as your lidded pot, unglazed body with brown- green glaze on neck section and interior. It has lovely satisfying round shape and has the same mark as the one on your pot.
    Kerry

    1. Hi Megan, well-made functional pottery tends to hold its value for people who like the work; ie there is a close relationship between its value when originally sold and its value now.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s