Peter Travis

Christmas hours

This year we will be closed on Monday 25 December but will resume our normal Friday to Monday hours for the rest of the holiday season. We are also happy to open the gallery outside these hours by appointment. For those visiting us this season we have a number of new acquisitions including this 39 cm high piece by Peter Travis:


Recently added biographies

Here are the biographies I’ve added to the online catalogue since June:

Jo Caddy. Head vase

What an interesting mix of names! Clearly my focus wanders as I move from project to project. Jan Gluch and Studio Fisher have work in our current exhibition. Susie McMeekin’s mark featured in  the Journal of Australian Ceramics and needed to be added to Australian Potters’ Marks. Jamie Beeston was promoted from unknown to known potter. And I found the Jo Caddy head vase in a box I was unpacking and couldn’t resist sharing it, with the result that it sold, but at least I still have a record…

More on sources

Ford, Geoff, Encyclopedia of Australian Potter's Marks, p.204 (detail)

Geoff Ford’s Encyclopedia of Australian Potter’s Marks documents potters and potteries active before 1975 but includes marks used after this period. I thought it might be useful to provide an index of entries in the encyclopedia for potters active in the 1960s-1970s and beyond. Having marks recorded for these potters provides a good start but collectors will need to go to a wide range of other directories to cover the field, and many marks are still unrecorded.

Alexander, Doug
Ardern, Elsa
Beck, Robert
Blakebrough, Les
Bovill, Gillian
Brereton, Kevin
Carnegie, Francis
Douglas, Molly
Dunn, Phyl
Englund, Ivan
Englund, Patricia
Garnsey, Wanda
Garrett, John
Gazzard, Marea
Gilbert, John
Greenaway, Victor
Halpern, Artur
Halpern, Stanislav
Halpern, Sylvia

Hick, William
Hughan, Harold
Juckert, Eric
Kemety, John
Keys, Eileen
Laycock, Helen
Laycock, Peter
Leckie, Alex
Le Grand, Henri
Levy, Colin
Lowe, Allan
Maddock, Beatrice
McConnell, Carl
McLaren, Gus
McLaren, Betty
McMeekin, Ivan
Memmott, Harry
Mitchell, Cynthia
Moon, Milton

Pate, Klytie
Peterkin, Les
Preston, Reg
Rushforth, Peter
Sadler, Ken
Sahm, Bernard
Sayers, Joan
Schulze, Robert A.
Shaw, Edward
Smith, Derek
Smith, Ian (SA)
Sprague, Ian
Taylor, David
Travis, Peter
Tuckson, Margaret
Warren, Peggy
Welch, Robin
Wilton, Charles

Known potter #1: Peter Travis

Peter Travis. Decorative tile. 1960s.

This is a small unsigned decorative tile made by Peter Travis for a feature wall in the shop of François Jermani in Australia Square in Sydney, now demolished. It is the only Peter Travis piece I own and I paid quite a lot for it. His work is hard to come by and realises high prices. A wonderful piece dated 1971 sold for $4,800 at a recent Shapiro auction.

Even in the early 1970s Travis was not a potter everyone could afford:

“My work is highly-priced. For two reasons – there is a demand for it and even at these high prices I still can’t make enough from the project to suport myself. Maybe that will come. The low final output makes my work even more valuable” (Nine Artist Potters, p. 25).

Together with potters like Marea Gazzard and Alexander Leckie, Travis is often classed as an artist-potter or sculptor. There is no question of his pieces being functional or non-functional. They are art objects – large slab and coil built forms in organic shapes that use clay as a form of artistic expression.

One of Gazzard’s works from the early 1970s also illustrated in Shapiro’s Past Highlights page sold for over $15,000. A small terracotta boulder from the 1960s was listed on eBay last week for just 99 cents. It will be interesting to see what final price it fetches.

eBay is firming up as a marketplace for high-priced items. The much lower premiums are born by the seller so the closing price is what the buyer pays, not counting delivery costs. There are greater risks: to the buyer in terms of not knowing the seller and not being able to view the item; and to the seller in terms of attracting the right buyers at the right time. Provenance is generally not an issue. Auction houses often don’t publish the provenance of a piece. eBay sellers often do, in order to secure the trust of potential buyers.