Plate by Martin Boyd Pottery

Made by Martin Boyd Pottery in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1950s.

Made by the Martin Boyd Pottery in the 1950s, this hand painted and incised earthenware plate is typical of the domestic wares produced in Australia at this time. Its stylised images of emus, emu tracks and an Aboriginal figure come from Aboriginal art, which emerged as a popular and highly exploited source of inspiration. Of the dozens of commercial potteries operating in Sydney after the Second World War, the Martin Boyd Pottery was one of the most significant.

In 1946, art student, Guy Boyd,...


Plate, round flat form in cream earthenware, hand painted in 'Aboriginal-style', with a central brown stripe, with four incised spirals, a figure and emu foot prints. Either side of the brown stripe is dark olive and decorated with white emus and emu foot prints. The manufacturer's name is engraved on the reverse and there are two holes for hanging the plate.


22 mm


The Martin Boyd plate is hand-painted with Aboriginal-style motifs that represent emus, emu tracks and an Aboriginal figure. This type of imagery was popular in Australia after the Second World War when designers were searching for a national cultural identity as a source of inspiration. Looking towards Aboriginal art, they established a repertoire of stylised motifs that included cross-hatching, native plants and animals, animal footprints, spears, boomerangs and Aboriginal people themselves. These made their way onto the wealth of domestic wares produced at Australia's semi-commercial potteries.

This plate was made in the 1950s by the Martin Boyd Pottery, which was one of the most significant commercial potteries operating in Sydney after the Second World War. At its peak, it employed between 70 and 80 people and produced domestic and ornamental wares. Most of these pieces were thrown on the potter's wheel, though plates were also made using hand-moulding, hand-building, press moulding, assemblage, slip-casting and jolleying. The pottery developed its own clay bodies and engobes, which were of a particularly high quality, and commonly decorated its wares in underglaze, engobe, onglaze and enamel.
Martin Boyd Pottery 1950s


Gift of Dr R L Cope, 2003
15 October, 2003

Cite this Object

Plate by Martin Boyd Pottery 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 17 November 2017, <>
{{cite web |url= |title=Plate by Martin Boyd Pottery |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=17 November 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
Know more about this object?
Have a question about this object?