Bottle And Collectables Club of WA 

Bottles and Collectables of WA
PO Box 47, Inglewood WA 6932
info@bacwa.com.au

Darbyshire & Other Studio Pottery

According to the darbyshirepotterysociety.org website, Jean and Bill Darbyshire established the Darbyshire Pottery in Perth, Western Australia in 1946.

From her early years Jean was interested in pottery and took lessons from the well known potter of the 1930s and 1940s Flora Landells. 

Following service in the Royal Australian Air Force during World War 11 Jean and Bill started a small novelty business making fluffy chickens out of cotton wool dyed yellow, pinwheels on a stick from recycled X-ray plates and other products. They bought a small kiln and made an assortment of small eggcups and salt and pepper shakers. 

The business was Initially located in a couple of rooms between Murray and Hay Streets opposite Forrest Place but by 1948 they were operating a small factory in Wellington St near Milligan St, with more than ten staff. The business flourished and in 1952 they moved to a purpose built factory in Odin Rd Innaloo.

At its peak the factory employed sixty-four staff. The factory produced two lines of pottery.

One was very decorative and included vases and sculptural items such as the popular series of Aboriginal figures. These were more expensive because of the higher sales tax, but more profitable.

The other, more functional line, attracted a lower sales tax. These 'bread and butter' lines,  sixty styles of salt and pepper shakers ( fruit, flowers,vegetables and animals) were produced in bulk and provided enough profit to pursue the more artistic lines.  Both lines were successfully sold throughout Australia and exported to New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Several talented artists were employed. Herta Ostaffi was responsible for assembling some of the more intricate items (flowers and hand-painting). Russian sculptor Schura Berusowski and Italian Bruno Guigliarelli were also involved in modelling the figures, including the sought after Aboriginal figures.

After the lifting of import tariffs on foreign goods sales dropped dramatically and the Company ceased operating in 1956. There are a small range of these local pieces to collect and garage sales and swap meets can still turn up items being sold off from deceased estates and cupboard clean outs.