Barry Hayes

Known potter #15: Victor Greenaway

Victor Greenaway. Spherical jar with lid Victor Greenaway. Spherical jar with lid. Marks

This large spherical porcelain jar with lid was made by the master potter Victor Greenaway. It is 22 cm high and has a dry glaze with a fine downy texture. A similar jar in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia illustrated in Victor Greenaway: Ceramics 1965-2005 (The Beagle Press, 2005, page 39) is dated 1977. Ours may be earlier as the oval seal with impressed goblet was used from 1973-1975. (We can’t claim to be early Greenaway collectors and bought this piece in 2005.)

Greenaway was born in 1947 in Sale, Victoria. He became interested in pottery as a teenager, completed a Diploma of Fine Art at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and worked at Ian Sprague’s Mungeribar Pottery in Upper Beaconsfield from 1969-1973.

Victor Greenaway. Goblet. 1970-1973. Base Victor Greenaway. Pair of goblets. 1970-1973

His marks are well recorded in both Ford’s Encyclopedia and the 2005 book mentioned above.  Oddly, the G in a circle on our jar is not mentioned. Early work like this pair of goblets is stamped with a ‘G’ in a square and may also have the Mungeribar Pottery seal.

In 1973 Greenaway built his own Broomhill pottery on six acres next door to the Mungeribar Pottery. In 1975 he established a production studio there with a training programme funded by the Australia Council. Apprentices working at the studio over the next 12 years included Bruce Heggie, Edith-Ann Murray, Barry Hayes and Warren Arthur, who wrote about his six years at the pottery in Pottery in Australia (“Forming the foundation”, 24/4:1985, 24-25).

Victor Greenaway (Broomhill Studio). Lidded pot. Mark Victor Greenaway. Lidded pot

From the number of works listed on eBay with the Broomhill stamp (an impressed goblet in a rectangle), production must have equaled that of Derek Smith’s Blackfriars Pottery, operating around the same time in Sydney.

Victor Greenaway. Set of six goblets. Victor Greenaway. Set of six goblets. Mark

Greenaway controlled the design and quality of the product and kept the studio operating as ‘a well-oiled machine’ (Arthur, page 24). Over this time he distinguished his own work with a personal seal consisting of a G with the Broomhill Studio goblet.

In February 1983 the Ash Wednesday bushfires destroyed the family home at Upper Beaconsfield. He rebuilt but eventually sold the property in 1993 and closed down the studio. In 1995 he bought a property at Nungurner on the Gippsland lakes and has lived and worked there as a solo potter (and also as a painter) for the last 12 years.

Victor Greenaway. Lakes studio mark. 1993-

His work since 1993 is marked with a VG personal seal. This example is from a small tenmoku bowl in our collection. Recently exhibited pieces are quite wonderful, consisting of open spiral forms made of Limoges porcelain with intensely coloured glazes. He also produces similar forms using the ancient Etruscan black-fired technique of bucchero.

He has had an association with Italy since 1999 through the potter Marino Moretti and his website says that he is currently spending two years in Orvieto.