Les Blakebrough, who had come to Australia in 1948 from England, joined the Sturt Pottery Workshops, Mittagong, NSW in 1957 as an apprentice to Ivan McMeekin. Blakebrough went on to become the manager of the pottery studios (1959-1972); then the director of the Sturt workshops (1964-1972); before leaving to head the Ceramics Department at the Tasmanian School of Art, Hobart. The Sturt pottery workshops, initially set up by Ivan McMeekin in 1953 at the request of founder Winifred West, became a well known training ground for the 'anglo-oriental' aesthetic, and also the development of a particular ideology towards local crafts education and studio production. Sturt Pottery used local clay, and was an innovator in Australia in the development of local clay bodies. This was a significant period in the growing studio ceramics movement in Australia where the 'anglo-oriental' aesthetic in stoneware, as propagated by the British potter Bernard Leach, continued to be particularly influential.
Blakebrough became an important figure on the Crafts Councils of NSW and Australia; and the Crafts Board of the Australia Council. His work is represented in the public collections of all State Galleries, as well as other galleries nationally and internationally.
The jug is historically and aesthetically significant with strong interpretive potential to demonstrate developments within the Australian studio ceramics and crafts movements. It links to other significant ceramic works in the collection of this period that also represent the 'anglo-oriental' aesthetic, including by Peter Rushforth, Ivan McMeekin, Harold Hughan and Bernard Leach.
Cochrane, Grace (1992). 'The Crafts Movement in Australia: a History' (Sydney: New South Wales Press)
O'Callaghan, Judith (1991). 'A New Direction: 1940-1980', in Bilney, Elizabeth (ed), 'Decorative Arts and Design from the Powerhouse Museum' (Sydney: Powerhouse Publishing)
Blakebrough, Les. 'About Les Blakebrough', at www.lesblakebrough.com.au
Holmes, Jonathan. 'Les Blakebrough: Potter'
Exhibition catalogue essay - Cochrane, Grace (1989) 'Les Blakebrough', in exhibition 'Two potters three decades: Les Blakebrough and Carl McConnell'; Hyde Park Barracks 14 June 1989.
Holmes, Jonathan (1988). 'Les Blakebrough: A retrospective', exhibition catalogue.
Emma Lees for Paul Donnelly, Curator, Design, History and Society, July 2008