Mystery potter #33: Ian Sprague

Lidded bowl

Lidded bowl. Inside view Lidded bowl. Mark

This lidded bowl is made from a red-blond stoneware clay. It is not very large – 12.5 cm high, counting the handle, and 14 cm in diameter – but substantial to the feel, with a nice interface between glaze and unglazed clay body and a well-fitting lid. The glaze is a matt pale blue-grey, covered in oxide spots and textured with tiny air bubbles and pin pricks.

We bought this piece at an estate auction last year as part of a job lot that turned out to include a Les Blakebrough lidded box and vase, a Leach Pottery, St Ives, lidded bowl and a Harold Hughan lidded jar.   In this company we were sure that it, too, would be by a known maker working in the Anglo-Oriental style, but we have not been able to decipher the mark, which is hopelessly obscured by the glaze.  Now it must stand on its own merit, like an unmarked work, unless we can find another attributed piece like it, or someone has enough knowledge to recognise its maker in the form, and the materials and processes used to make it.

Ian Sprague. Impressed mark, upside down Ian Sprague. Impressed mark, upside down

Postscript: A gallery visitor who knew Ian Sprague well recognised this as by him when he saw it in our workroom. The impressed mark (shown upside down in both images) is also a forensic match.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/potsmarks/5296026426/&#8221; title=”Ian Sprague. Impressed mark, upside down by Judith at Bemboka, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5128/5296026426_0e4f7883da_t.jpg&#8221; width=”100″ height=”100″ alt=”Ian Sprague. Impressed mark, upside down” /></a>
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