Friday, April 20

The Very Beginning: Sherwood Pottery, Waitakere

For the first post I thought I'd start at the very beginning -when Cameron and Dorothy Brown were setting up their first pottery in rural Waitakere in the late 1940s-early 1950s.

These first two pieces come from a time when production was still very small scale and experimental. The scope for giving free reign to Cameron Brown's sense of humour was therefore probably much greater - something implied in these two small objects.

These two ashtrays both have a bone china body with applied moulded decoration. The main body of the ashtray is a basic form that would come to be standard throughout the high years of Titian production. The mould later received the number S100 ("Souvenir 100"), though these ashtrays were made some years before the numbering system was put in place.

The Sherwood monkeys are so early that bits of grit have fallen onto the piece during firing and are rough when you run your finger over the top surface. The phrase "Oh What a Party!" has been inscribed in ghost sgraffito around the rim.

An interesting aspect of the applied monkeys' piece is the very early mark on its base.

The second ashtray is here because it is the first Sherwood piece listed, though not illustrated, in Gail Henry's 1999 book New Zealand Pottery, on page 165. This is the famous "Drunken Man" ashtray.

Well modelled given the limited tools and facilities Cameron Brown had at the time.

Other rare and early Sherwood pieces from the collection of Manos can be found online at the good website

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