Mystery potter #38: Ralph Jeffress

'RJ' (?). Pair of goblets 'RJ' (?). Pair of goblets. Mark

Talking about goblets, here is an unusual pair with slightly everted straight-sided cups transitioning to short sturdy stems on a wide base. Made of fine sand-coloured clay, they are glazed white on the inside and the palest celadon on the lip, and in a wide band down the side. The rest of the body is left unglazed and decorated on both sides in a deeply carved scrawl – possibly a rocky forested outcrop –  stained in an inky black. The mark on the base is an impressed monogram in the shape of a reverse S, which I’ve catalogued as ‘RJ’.

'RJ' (?). Vase 'RJ' (?). Vase. Mark

A fellow art market professional visiting the gallery this week brought with him a piece he had just purchased at auction, hoping for an attribution. It turned out to have the same mark. It is a small handbuilt vase with flattened sides, this time in a red-brown clay, with carved and stained decoration in a similarly strong organic style that reminds me a little of Hiroe Swen.

Two works make an oeuvre and we are both now keen to find out who made them.


This is the mark used by Ralph Jeffress, a potter who exhibited at Narek Galleries while it was based in Deakin, ACT in the early 1970s. Thank you Carmen for this information! She has a work with the ‘RJ’ mark, also signed ‘R. Jeffress’.


  1. Hi Judith…..OMG! this piece showed up when I was looking at the works of Marea Gazzard,…..I have exactly the same piece and have been trying to identify it for years! One more to cross off the list 🙂

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