Mystery potter #34: Ian Rowe

Rowe. Cylindrical vase

Rowe. Cylindrical vase. Mark

This stoneware vase with yellow and tan glaze and sgraffito decoration is signed ‘Rowe’ on the base in oxide. For some time we thought that it was the work of the South Australian potter Ron Rowe, who has entries in the 1974 and 1977 directories. The mark in the 1977 directory is sufficiently similar for some sellers to have made this attribution. However, it turns out that Ron Rowe’s mark is inscribed, not painted, the ‘R’ is less elaborate, and the final ‘e’ is shaped like a trident.  In addition, the two makers worked in entirely different traditions.

We have acquired quite a few pieces by the mystery Rowe, mainly from Melbourne sources, and they are all well-made functional forms like this one.


Our Rowe turns out to be Ian Rowe, a potter trading as Roweshill Pottery in Whittlesea, VIC, from 1982 to 2012. This information and details of the marks he used have been provided in a comment below by his son Mat.


  1. Hi Judith
    Don’t know if this is helpful or relevant – there is a Peter Rowe who runs the Coober Pedy underground potteries. I can’t see the pictures well enough to tell if this work is related!

  2. Hi Alex,
    Peter Rowe and his brother Derek came from Melbourne, where most of my ‘Rowe’ mystery potter pieces are turning up, so perhaps there is a connection here, but the pieces I have by Peter Rowe are incised ‘Peter’ and the ones by Derek Rowe are stamped DEREK M. ROWE / ROOSTER RED UNDERGROUND POTTERY. I’ve put some images up on the Identifying Australian Pottery forum.

  3. Hi Judith,

    Try researching Keith Rowe. Signature looks the same as the pieces we used to exhibit at our galleries in Warrandyte and Camberwell from early 1980’s to early 2000’s.

  4. Have one small vase signed Rowe, that also carries a mark.
    Unfortunately I cannot help with ID.

    Rowe. Vase
    Rowe. Vase. Mark

  5. Hi Judith
    I see you have my pot and signature up on your pages
    Do you want to place my image and text together away from the Kieth Rowe as it is on the page MYSTERY POTTER #34: KEITH ROWE (?) This would clarify the two of us.
    Cheers Ron

  6. Hi

    This is my father’s work. His name is Ian Rowe, trading as Roweshill Pottery, established in Whittlesea, VIC in 1982 to 2012.

    The oatmeal coloured piece dates to around 1985-1990.

    The small vase posted by Vera Möller is an early piece from the late 70’s.

    He was a full time potter until 2001 and now pots for pleasure.

    1. The above photo shows some of Ian’s signatures over the years. The top image is from the early 80’s. The bottom left image is the ‘Roweshill Pottery’ signature and the bottom right is Ian’s current personal signature for his individual work.

      1. Mat, thank you so much for providing this information. I’ve updated this entry and will also add an entry for Ian Rowe / Roweshill Pottery to the Australian Potters’ Marks project. Judith

        1. Thank you so much Judith.

          Ian has sold to gallaries including Potter’s Cottage in Warrandyte and a gallery in Camberwell, as Lone Rowsthorn suggests.

          His current interest is more along the lines of Chinese traditional glazing and wood firing.

          Lovely to see some of his work on the net.


          1. Hi Judith It is good to have sorted out your Rowes Will you do a separate page for me Let me know when it is done Regards Ron

            Sent from my iPad

            Ron Rowe


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