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Maude Poynter (1869–1945)

ceramic (earthenware, coloured and clear glazes)

17.5 h x 30 w x 30 d cm

Presented by B Gray and BA Lamprell, 1970



This vase was presented to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery by Maude Poynter’s nieces, Mrs Barclay Gray and Mrs BA Lamprell in 1970


Maude Poynter (1869–1945) is one of Australia’s pioneering studio potters. She was born in Geelong, Victoria, and studied initially at the Slade School of Art in London. In 1913 Poynter studied pottery at the Kingston-on-Thames School of Art. She returned to Tasmania in 1918 and lived with her sister at Ratho, a property near Bothwell in Southern Tasmania. Supported by a private income from her father’s estate, Poynter was free to pursue artistic interests and operated a pottery at Ratho until 1935.

Poynter’s study in Britain, combined, perhaps, with artistic family connections through her cousin, the English Pre-Raphaelite painter Sir Edward Poynter (1836–1919), gave her experience of the latest artistic developments in Europe. This bowl, with its simplified, graphic decoration recalls at once the bold decorative work of British designers such as Christopher Dresser (1834–1904) and the influence of ancient Egyptian decoration in Art Nouveau and Art Deco design.

At this time in Tasmania, Maude Poynter would have experienced some difficulty obtaining supplies. She sourced her clay from Campbell’s, a commercial pottery based in Launceston, Tasmania, and imported her glazes from Wengers Limited of Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent, Britain.


A large, squat, wheelthrown vessel with a short, tapering neck and wide opening; made in low-fired earthenware and decorated with a pattern of incised and stylised leaves and flowers in bright blue, red, pink and green. The pattern is set against the natural, clear-glazed buff clay with the outlines and other linear elements incised and glazed in black. The design of the flowers and leaves is simplified and flattened, with areas of flat, bright colour contrasting with the bold black outline and rendering of details. The neck of the vase is decorated with short, incised and black-glazed vertical bars; the interior and rim are glazed black.

Statement of Significance

The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery seeks to build a comprehensive representation of studio crafts practice in Tasmania. Maude Poynter, along with fellow potters Violet Mace (1890–1968) and Mylie Peppin (1907–2001), were pioneer Australian studio potters. Poynter’s overseas training put her in direct touch with the Arts and Craft movement in Britain. This vase, with its stylised, graphic decoration, demonstrates at once this British influence as well as Poynter’s skills and originality as a decorator.


Signed and dated in black glaze on the base: ‘Maude Poynter/ RATHO/ Tas 1928’

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