Known potter #48: Peter Tappin

Peter Tappin (1941- ) was a Queensland potter active in Brisbane, then the Sunshine Coast, from the early 1980s until 1994. His life as a potter has been well documented by Glenn Cooke in Design & Art in Australia Online, so I won’t repeat the details here.

Peter Tappin. Vase

Burrum Pottery. Teapot.

Peter Tappin. Vase

This vase from our collection is an excellent example of the malachite green glaze Tappin perfected during the 1980s, using cadmium and tin over a distinctive brown stoneware clay body. The band of decoration was achieved using wood and leather carving tools.

His move to the Sunshine Coast took place in the late 1980s when he established the Burrum Pottery in an old service station at Beerburrum.  The teapot below dates from that time. It is unmarked but has a Burrum Pottery paper label on its base, and the glaze is unmistakable.

(When testing the teapot for a customer this week, I found that it meets most of the criteria outlined by Peter Timms for the perfect teapot in a 1989 article reprinted in the July 2011 issue of the Journal of Australian Ceramics (pp. 98-99). Perhaps the spout could rise from a point a little further below the middle of the body for a perfect first cup.)

Cooke tells us that the malachite green glaze was developed in the later part of the 1980s and that, in the early 1980s, Tappin worked on a copper glaze which showed a blackened metallic effect. This vase currently owned by sevenshadesofblue from the Identifying Australian pottery forum looks like an example from this period.

A lidded jar posted by skiba21 has a much lighter copper glaze with a band of incised and coloured geometric decoration.

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