Keith Rowe

Mystery potter #34: Ian Rowe

Rowe. Cylindrical vase

Rowe. Cylindrical vase. Mark

This stoneware vase with yellow and tan glaze and sgraffito decoration is signed ‘Rowe’ on the base in oxide. For some time we thought that it was the work of the South Australian potter Ron Rowe, who has entries in the 1974 and 1977 directories. The mark in the 1977 directory is sufficiently similar for some sellers to have made this attribution. However, it turns out that Ron Rowe’s mark is inscribed, not painted, the ‘R’ is less elaborate, and the final ‘e’ is shaped like a trident.  In addition, the two makers worked in entirely different traditions.

We have acquired quite a few pieces by the mystery Rowe, mainly from Melbourne sources, and they are all well-made functional forms like this one.


Our Rowe turns out to be Ian Rowe, a potter trading as Roweshill Pottery in Whittlesea, VIC, from 1982 to 2012. This information and details of the marks he used have been provided in a comment below by his son Mat.