Victor Greenaway

Dinner party, 1974

Victor Greenaway, Plate, bowl, goblet, carafe

One of the Victor Greenaway items that we have acquired for our collection is a six piece table setting dating from 1969-73, with dinner plate. side plate and bowl. Glazed in red and yellow rust, and heavy to hold, these pieces are archetypal examples of the brown stoneware associated with the early 1970s. I wondered how this set would have looked at a dinner party in 1974.  We decided to put it to the test and here is the result, on our Tasmanian blackwood dinner table, with goblets and carafe from the same period. In the slanted evening sunlight the pieces glow with warmth, and the straight-sided, flanged goblets that were Greenaway’s signature through to 1995 have a timeless appeal.

What would have been on the menu? At our house, home-made chicken liver pate from the Australian and New Zealand Complete Book of Cookery (Sydney, Hamlyn, 1970) in individual stoneware dishes, beef bourguignon from Louisette Bertholle’s Secrets of the Great French Restaurants (London, Weidenfield & Nicholson, 1973) with baked potatoes in their jackets and a green salad on the side, chocolate mousse (also from the ANZ book) for dessert, and a cheese plate to finish.

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Gearing up for season 2

Featured potters - Season 2

The sign goes out on the road again for our second season on Friday 3 September. Behind the scenes we have been hard at work during our winter break, packing away the old display and preparing the new exhibition.

This season in the main gallery we will be featuring the work of Victor Greenaway from his early days at Ian Sprague’s Mungeribar Pottery to the present day.  We have also put together displays of works by Les Blakebrough  and  Jenny Orchard, including a number of new acquisitions.   Rather than packing away last year’s featured potter, Christopher Sanders, we have moved the display to the downstairs foyer and added more pieces from the collection.

Illustrated in the picture above are Jenny Orchard: vase 1997, Christopher Sanders: bottle c.1981,Victor Greenaway: bottle 1970, Les Blakebrough: charger, 1984.

Mystery potter #19: ‘K with horizontal bar’

Pair of stoneware goblets

Pair of stoneware goblets. Mark

These very tall and heavy stoneware goblets with flanged stems were listed in a recent auction catalogue as having been made at Mungeribar Pottery but the impressed mark is quite different. It looks like a K divided by a horizontal bar. The Mungeribar Pottery mark is an impressed M. Yet the attribution may still reflect a shared provenance of some kind.

Mungeribar Pottery was established by Ian Sprague at Upper Beaconsfield, Victoria, in 1964. Sprague, an architect by training, and then in his early forties, had just completed a three-year diploma in ceramics at the Central School in London and some months working at the David Leach Pottery in Devon. He returned to Australia in February, 1962, planning to set up his own pottery and to run it on Leachian lines.

There was very little expertise with stoneware and high temperature firing in Australia at that time. In the early stages of fitting out the pottery, he was helped by the visiting English potter Robin Welch. The kiln was designed by Arthur Homer of St Agnes, Cornwall. In the October 1965 issue of Pottery in Australia, Sprague published an article describing his experiences for the benefit of other potters.

While Welch was in Australia, he exhibited some of his work at the Craft Centre Gallery in South Yarra (another of Sprague’s initiatives). It was viewing this exhibition which led the young Victor Greenaway to visit Sprague at Mungeribar, and subsequently to accept an apprenticeship there.

Ian Sprague. Stoneware cup. Marks

Welch’s Australian work was characterised by cylindrical forms with multiple flanges but he signed his work with his full name. Sprague had his own mark, an impressed square with two quarters and three dots, shown here with the Mungeribar ‘M’. [I have since learnt that this is Morse code for IS.] Greenaway’s marks are described in another entry.

Victor Greenaway. Stoneware goblet

Greenaway used a flanged goblet as the mark for the Broomhill Pottery from 1975; and there is clearly a similarity between the ‘K with horizontal bar’ goblets and this beaker made by Greenaway while he was still at Mungeribar. I assume that their maker was a potter working in stoneware in the late 1960s and early 1970s, associated in some way with Mungeribar or influenced by the same trends.

References

Ian Sprague, “The pottery at “Mungeribar””, Pottery in Australia, Vol. 4, No. 2, October, 1965, pp. 21-24.

“Sprague & Greenaway”, in Alison Littlemore and Kraig Carlstrom, Nine artist potters, North Sydney, N.S.W. : Jack Pollard Pty. Ltd., 1973, pp. 106-123.

Victor Greenaway : ceramics 1965-2005, Roseville, N.S.W. : Beagle Press, 2005, pp. 123-125.

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.

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