The importance of being Ernest...
Crown Lynn - hand potted is an exhibition of hand thrown pots from the late 1940s and early 1950s. This exhibition opens Thursday 27 April, 6pm, and continues until Sunday 28 May.
In 1948, Crown Lynn potteries (known as the Amalgamated Brick and Pipe Company at that time) was joined by a hand-thrower from Josiah Wedgewood and sons Ltd, Ernest Shufllebotham.
Crown Lynn has been better known for cast forms, produced in thousands. A strange wrinkle in the development of a business dedicated to mechanisation was the production of labour intensive thrown vases. The hand throwing technique employed two people throwing and turning wares on a lathe or potters wheel to achieve the final product. Shufllebotham was able to make use of a new formula for white firing clay, developed by this New Lynn business from New Zealand sources.
Previously, Crown Lynn had cast sturdy oatmeal coloured dishes for the American Navy and New Zealand Railways. Shufflebotham developed a range of (mainly) vases for the artware line, these pots were much smoother internally than the moulded pots and had a rich, even colour. Their vases and ornamental items were extremely popular in the late 40s and the 50s, a situation enhanced by the scarcity of such items, which could not be imported to New Zealand during the war.
Shufllebotham’s hand thrown pottery was a prestigious addition to Crown Lynn’s artware lines capable of competing with English ceramics. These works have clean external forms, a rich cream colour and a certain art deco feel to them. They are a perverse twist in the Crown Lynn story of business success and mechanisation.