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Stoneware dinner set made by Les Blakebrough

This part-setting is from one of the earliest significant commissions of studio pottery in Australia, commissioned by the Australian Council for the Arts in 1970. In 1989, selected items formed part of a touring retrospective exhibition of Les Blakebrough's work, and were shown at the Hyde Park Barracks venue of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences
The pieces are representative of brown glazed stoneware pieces thrown by Blakebrough in the late 1960s / early 1970s.

Les Blakebrough (b.1930) …


Object No.


Object Statement

Dinner set (6 pieces), stoneware, Les Blakebrough, Sturt workshops, Mittagong, New South Wales, Australia, 1970

Physical Description

Each piece has a grey/tan body, tan/brown wood ash/rock glaze with dark brown iron glaze at rim. The foot of each is unglazed with a small turned footring. The plates and bowl bear a motiff in dark brown glaze, drawn as a broad brush-stroked continuous scrolling line, this motif is placed in the centre of the pieces.



Les Blakebrough was the manager of the Sturt pottery from 1959-1972 and head of the Sturt craft workshops from 1964-1972. He was influential in providing a model for production of ceramic tableware, and for training apprentices. He moved to head the ceramics department at the Tasmanian School of Art in 1972. During his career he concentrated on both making large vessel shaped exhibition pieces, and on the refinement of domestic tableware, culminating in the 1990s in an interest in designing for industrial production. He has been commissioned to make many dinner sets. These settings are from one of the earliest significant commissions.

Made by Les Blakebrough, Mittagong, 1970 (see above)

Commissioned and supplied in 1970



Commissioned by Dr Jean Battersby, executive officer of the Australian Council for the Arts (est 1968) in 1970 (Australia Council from 1975). The Council was in its formative years and hosted committees and others for business and public relations lunches. Battersby wanted to use handmade ceramics to further her cultural cause, rather than use commercial tableware. The commissioning process for corporate use was less common at the time, unlike the present where this is seen as a sought afterand legitimate marketing opportunity. A senate enquiry in the mid-1970s raised questions about use of public funds for these purposes. Battersby arranged to send the luncheon set to the Crafts Council of Australia (est. 1971, now Crafts Australia) as a travelling exhibition. It toured all or most of the state crafts council offices before returning to CCA. It was one of the first travelling exhibitions organised by the CCA. In 1989, selected items were toured with the retrospective exhibition of Les Blakebrough's work, organised by the Tasmanian School of Art. This was mounted in the Hyde Park Barracks venue of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. In 1994, Craft Australia sought to donate the collection to the Museum. The sets had depleted by this time so a selection only was made. Two further settings (and a soup tureen and platter) were donated to the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston. Source of information: Jane Burns, past director of the Crafts Council of Australia, 15/4/1994
See Used: above


Credit Line

Gift of Craft Australia

Acquisition Date

13 July 1995

Cite this Object


Stoneware dinner set made by Les Blakebrough 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 20 September 2021, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Stoneware dinner set made by Les Blakebrough |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=20 September 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.