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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Crown Lynn at the Gus Fisher Gallery

As Ed Hillary is reputed to have said "that's knocked that bugger off".

I did the speech on Friday night at the official opening and then the floor talk on Saturday. Both were nervewracking - the speech mercifully short, the floor talk endless but more or less finished on time.

I got to meet some interesting people and the events were more fun than I remember openings being in my National Art Gallery days.

I had a lot of conversations about Crown Lynn and Richard Quinn and not everything I heard was inaccurate. One of the people I met was Alan Topham General Manager at Crown Lynn up until 1962. His anarchic view was the company mainly manufactured dinnerware. We were standing next to a shrine of Dorothy Thorpe pieces at the time and he had a few amusing anecdotes about going to the US with Tom Clark to recruit her. He thought that a couple of the pieces in the case weren't Crown Lynn and the colours unlikely to have been selected by Ms Thorpe. Later they were upturned to show they had the same backstamp as they pieces they were displayed next to. Alan had been a buyer for McKenzies when Fiesta was commissioned to their specifications.

As well as a visit to Limeburners Bay with a few Quinns I also saw an impressive private collection of New Zealand ceramics. The owner is even more appealing than his collection and is clearly very passionate about fired clay and its variations. Two of the pieces he thought were late-nineteenth century pieces turned out to have been made by Clays of Calico at Caldwell, Montana ca,1970s but I'm not sure how to break the news to him. Earlier he had been very relaxed about joking about other miss-attributions he'd made.

I also got a lot of practice smiling and nodding as people spouted demented nonsense at me with knowing looks on their faces. I think I smashed a few molars gritting my teeth. The wacky world of Crown Lynn continues unchecked.

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