Mystery potter #42: Harry Ashburner

Set of four tenmoku bowls

Set of four tenmoku bowls. Mark

We recently bought a small collection of Phillip McConnell pots, mainly functional, with some fine examples of his early work. Most of them were  marked with an impressed ‘Pm’, together with the Pinjarra Pottery mark, dating them to before 1975, when McConnell established his own ‘The Pottri’ near Toowoomba. This set of four rice bowls, however, have a different mark.

I thought at first that it was the ‘HH’ mark used by Carl McConnell from 1949-62 (Glenn Cooke, Carl McConnell master potter, Queensland Art Gallery, 1986, p. 55).  On closer inspection, it only has three vertical strokes with the last two closed at the top. Phillip McConnell says that this is definitely not one of the marks used at the Pinjarra Pottery.

The bowls are very well made, with a pale grey, finely speckled stoneware clay body, well-honed foot ring and lustrous tenmoku glaze. I assume from the shared provenance that they date from around the same time as the Phillip McConnell pieces and that they are also the work of a Queensland potter.


These have now been identified as by Harry Ashburner. The mark is an impressed ‘HA’. Harry Ashburner was active in the 1970s on the Gold Coast.


  1. Hi Judith,
    I’m eating corn chips from a shallow bowl with the same marking right now, as I type. I’m sorry I can’t tell you who made it. I purchased mine last year at a garage sale in Canberra. It has the same clay body as your bowls with a blue grey glaze with rust coloured speckles, brush marks and rim. I love using it.

  2. Hi Judith, Could the initials be HA ? I originally thought it was IA but after chatting with another forum member they have recommeded HA. Do you have anyone in your database that has those initials. Peter

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