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96/21/1 Potters wheel, timber / metal, made and used by Harold Hughan, Glen Iris, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1941. Click to enlarge.

Potters wheel, timber / metal, made and used by Harold Hughan, Glen Iris, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1941

Made in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1941.

Potters wheel, timber / metal, made and used by Harold Hughan, Glen Iris, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1941

Potters wheel, rectangular timber tray, narrower in front, with [metal] wheel inside, mounted on timber framework, with car/truck crankshaft extending from the wheel to a timber kick-plank below.

Summary

Object No.

96/21/1

Object Statement

Potters wheel, timber / metal, made and used by Harold Hughan, Glen Iris, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1941

Physical Description

Potters wheel, timber / metal, made and used by Harold Hughan, Glen Iris, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1941

Potters wheel, rectangular timber tray, narrower in front, with [metal] wheel inside, mounted on timber framework, with car/truck crankshaft extending from the wheel to a timber kick-plank below.

Dimensions

Height

1060 mm

Width

730 mm

Depth

705 mm

Production

Notes

Designed and made by Harold Hughan (1893 - 1987) in about 1941. This is probably the first potters wheel to be made in Australia for use in studio pottery. Harold Hughan was an electrical engineer who started making ceramic pots in the 1940s, introduced first by his wife and son. He was very influenced by the Kent collection of Chinese ceramics in the National Gallery of Victoria, by English country pottery and by Japanese ceramics. He was enthused by the influential A Potters Book by Bernard Leach, published in 1940, and taught himself to throw pots by reading The Potter's Craft by C.F Binns. He is considered to be the first to make 'Leach-inspired, feldspatic glazed stoneware made by an artist-potter' in Australia (Hood, 1983, p73), and the first to hold a one-person exhibition of stoneware clays (at Georges Gallery, Melbourne, in 1950). He started potting full-time on his retirement in 1963 and remained a most significant and influential figure until his death in 1987. The National Gallery of Victoria showed a retrospective exhibition (with catalogue) in 1969, and another on the occasion of his 90th birthday in 1983, when Craft Australia published a special supplement (see enclosed). In 1978 he was awarded the MBE for his services to pottery. In the 1940s, potters wheels would have been imported, but as an engineer, he had the ability to design and make his own. He was assisted in the building of kilns and development of clays by his son Robert (Bob) Hughan (b. 1925) (see enclosed catalogues, and interview with Robert Hughan 1994-95).

Made by Harold Hughan in about 1941. 'In 1940/41 Robert's father, Harold Hughan, started to take an interest in pottery, especially in stoneware (see Hood's notes). They wanted a wheel, and heard that you could make one by using the crankshaft of a motor car. Bob, who was about 16 years old at the time, had ridden his bicycle past a tip in East Malvern, and saw a huge engine of a bus or truck. He raced home; he and his father threw tools into his fathers car; they went to the tip and dismantled the engine, extracting the crankshaft. His father made a wooden frame and they bought the appropriate good quality bearings. Being an engineer, Harold could work out what to do. It is likely that this wheel is one of the first that was actually made in Australia, and perhaps the first made by a potter himself. Other wheels (eg. for industrial or studio purposes) were imported from England.' (Extracted from interview with Bob Hughan attached: note Hood's essay says it was a car-crankshaft).

Hughan did not read Leach's book until 1940, and Robert Hughan thinks that they would have started on the wheel in 1940/41. However, Kenneth Hood, who would have interviewed Harold Hughan, identifies the date as 1941.

History

Notes

This wheel was used by Harold Hughan from about 1941 until he stopped making pots in the mid-1980s. He used it in his studio in Glen Iris, Melbourne.
Owned by Harold Hughan until his death in 1987, and subsequently in the care of his son Robert Hughan. The studio has been kept more-or-less as it was (see colour transparencies taken in 1994).

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Robert Hughan, 1995

Acquisition Date

10 January 1996

Cite this Object

Harvard

Potters wheel, timber / metal, made and used by Harold Hughan, Glen Iris, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1941 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 19 August 2019, <https://ma.as/150295>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/150295 |title=Potters wheel, timber / metal, made and used by Harold Hughan, Glen Iris, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1941 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=19 August 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

Incomplete

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.

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