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Charles Tibbs (1830–1906); Goulbourn Street Pottery (1848–58)

ceramic (earthenware, lead glaze)

18 h x 15 w x 15 d cm

Acquired 1953



This jug entered the Decorative Arts collection by transfer from museum property in 1953. Its earlier history is unknown.


The form of this mid-nineteenth century jug, as well as the materials and technology employed in its manufacture, has changed little since the Middle Ages. It is wheel thrown with an applied handle and spout. The decoration, which comprises incised lines, rouletted patterns and impressed marks, is very simple. The whole surface is covered with a uniform yellow lead glaze.

Since the foundation of the Australian colonies, and increasingly as the nineteenth century progressed, British manufactured ceramics were readily available in Australia. Even disposable items such as stoneware beer bottles were imported. This discouraged the development of a local ceramic industry and manufacture of locally-made high-quality wares did not commence in Australia until the end of the nineteenth century. Despite this, many colonists were keen to establish local industries and exploit local resources.

Items such as this jug are examples of early entrepreneurial activity in the colony and advertisements for such wares often proudly mentioned their local manufacture. Charles Tibbs placed an advertisement in the Hobart Town Courier on 12 December 1848 stating:

‘Ornamental Pottery, Goulburn Street

THE LOVERS OF FLOWERS are respectfully

informed that Charles Tibbs has now ready


FLOWERPOTS of a superior description, which

he offers at prices sufficiently moderate to ensure the

Patronage of all classes. C. Tibbs is determined to

establish and Earthenware Manufactory, which shall

obviate the necessity of importing from England,

and trusts that the superiority of his manufacture

will ensure him a share of public support.

Goulburn Street Pottery, Hobart-Town,

opposite the White Pheasant, Dec. 12. 2608

Tibbs was born in Hobart in 1830 and may have received some basic training from the British-trained potter James Sherwin before setting up a commercial pottery near his parent’s home in 1848, at the age of eighteen. His pottery was short lived and dogged by claims of inferior quality and porous glazes.


A wheel-thrown jug with handle and spout: the interior and exterior are yellow glazed. The body of the jug is a squat baluster shape with incised and rouletted decoration at the transition to the shoulder with six, evenly spaced, impressed rosettes above. The lower body of the jug is plain, except for a four-leaf clover motif impressed below the maker’s stamp in line with the spout. The jug has a projecting foot and flat, glazed base. The circular rim has a heavily moulded double lip. The handle is pulled and applied with a raised moulding along its full length and the throwing marks are clearly visible.

Statement of Significance

The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery seeks to build a comprehensive representation of decorative arts made in Tasmania throughout the colonial period. The simplicity and robustness of Charles Tibbs’ ceramics is typical of the production of utilitarian wares within a European tradition. They are also examples of colonial entrepreneurial activity which involved the use and development of available resources to supply the local market.


Impressed maker’s mark on side under spout: ‘GOULBOURN STREET POTTERY HOBART’.

This website was made possible through the generous support of the Gordon Darling Foundation, which provided funds for research, equipment and website design.

© 2009 Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
This page was last modified on : 26 August, 2010