Known potter #38: Montville Pottery

3825

Montville Pottery. Tenmoku vase. Base

This 30 cm high two-handled vase of classical form has a tenmoku glaze breaking to rust in narrow horizontal stripes on the ribbed body, which is also decorated with vertical lines of white slip. The vase is impressed on the base with the single word  ‘Montville’. We now have quite a few Montville Pottery works in our collection. This one, found on a visit to Lismore, presents so well in the gallery that it prompted me to find out more about its makers, and to share that knowledge here.

Montville Pottery was the first craft workshop in the Sunshine Coast hinterland area. It was set up by English emigrants David and Audrey (Bimmy) Everett in 1966, and  quickly gained a reputation for the quality of its production line. The New Zealand potter Royce McGlashen worked there in 1973 on his way to England. Ian and Jennifer MaCrae managed the pottery for the Everetts from October 1973 to December 1975. The pottery was then sold to Ian Lawrence, who leased it to Sonia Anketell from 1976-late 1979.

Our vase dates from the first half of the 1980s, after local entrepreneurs Helen and Peter Brierty had bought into the pottery, and before they left for Thailand in October 1985. The Briertys modernised the pottery and expanded the range from domestic tableware to more decorative pieces like ours.  As part of this process, they invited the Melbourne potter, Stephen Fletcher, to manage the pottery for eighteen months, and he introduced new glazes and techniques.  Alan Stirling then took over as manager until moving away from the district in 1985.

After the Briertys left, Ian Reid, and then Richard Owens, took over  the pottery. I am still not certain of the details from this period, or when the pottery closed, but I do know that it was demolished in 1998 to make way for a new complex called ‘The Pottery Building’ which now houses a variety of shops. Locals and tourists, and the people who worked there, still recall the days of the old Montville Pottery and there have been several moves to bring galleries and working artists back into the main street.

Tentative timeline

Timeline

Corrections and additions to this information are welcome!

Dating Montville Pottery

Montville Pottery. Early work Montville Pottery. Ginger jar. Mark and flyer

Montville Pottery. Leaf dish and utensil holder Montville Pottery. Utensil holder. Mark

The flyer accompanying the ginger jar, on the left dates it to the Everett years. All of the pieces in this image have an impressed ‘Montville’ mark in a quirky font. The ginger jar also has Bimmy Everett’s personal mark, and the pourer has a second impressed ‘VH’ mark for Val Harvey, one of the Everett’s trainees. During the Brierty years all the work bears the title case mark on our vase. The press-moulded leaf and the utensil holder celebrating the pottery’s longevity on the left are both impressed with an upper case ‘Montville’ mark.  This dates them both, I think, after 1985.

Postscript:

Montville Pottery montville pottery

Here are two more marks for Montville Pottery added to the Montville Pottery entry on Identifying Australian Pottery by essjt. One is a pencilled ‘Montville’ with a circle around it, the other a ‘Montville Pottery Est 1967’ printed stamp which also has an impressed stamp saying ‘Made in Australia Inga Szimke’. So here is the name of another person working at Montville for a time, possibly during the 1966-1973 period.

Postscript 2:

I’ve just read in Glenn R. Cooke, “Archaic Investigations”, Craft Arts International, No. 32, 1994-5, p.39 that Glen Manning spent time as manager of Montville Pottery in 1980. This must have been before Stephen Fletcher arrived.

References

  • “Montville Pottery story”, Nambour Chronicle and North Coast Advertiser, 29 August, 1974, page 26.
  • Art & Pottery return to the Pottery Centre”, Montville Times News Archive
  • Correspondence with Sonia Anketell, Helen Brierty, Stephen Fletcher, Ian MacRae, Joe Ottaway, Graham Suttor, and others, still in progress.
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6 comments

  1. Hello,
    I have enjoyed reading some of your entries. When I read about your Montville piece I remembered seeing the stamp Montville under a very small green vase in a local opportunity shop.
    So I went back and bought it. I find simple designs in pottery appealing and although I am not at all a serious collector, I have started looking out for small pieces that I like. I am a painter and I have always enjoyed texture in the paintings so perhaps that is the connection.
    Gwyn Hanson Piggot’s work really touches deep with its ‘poise and restraint’ (her words). Not that I could afford it but I enjoy seeing her pieces in galleries.
    Regards,
    Kerry Holland

    1. Hi Kerry, I am glad that reading this blog entry inspired you to go back to the op shop for the Montville vase. Perhaps one day you’ll find a Gwyn Hanssen Piggot bowl or jug at the back of a shelf. I see what you mean about the texture in your work. Judith

  2. I worked at Montville Pottery for the Everitts for a short while in 1972, renting a place at the model English Village at Flaxton. They were waiting for a potter from NZ to arrive..
    I was based in Brisbane. My friend Leon Pearce did a piece on Montville for the Sunday Mail at the time, it was very different then.
    I met Cooch Memmot at Annerley pottery after that , and subsequently started my own pottery in Somerset UK in 1985. Have recently started another with my wife Charlotte.

  3. This is a really well researched article. Would we please be able to provide a link to this blog in our Montville Chamber of Commerce newsletter as we feature the arts and crafts heritage?
    My family moved to Mapleton in 1978 and it was certainly a major tourist attraction for many years.I recall visiting the Montville Pottery many times and enjoying some wonderful treats too. Unfortunately we no longer have a working pottery in the Main Street.

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