When it comes to manufactured commodities such as ceramics, this skills deficit is accompanied by by the unavailability of what might be best described as the presence of comparative material. This deficiency ensures consumer choice is limited to what consumers are aware of, with the consequence being that market is defined not so much by competitive forces but rather by what manufacturers and their agents choose to supply. In New Zealand, for example, for much of the second half of the nineteenth century, this curtailed supply chain had little cultural significance as many European settlers brought not only their material culture with them to the colony but also memories of what they had seen in the metropolis; emporia of the mind.
But this situation changed dramatically as the population became more settled. By the early twentieth century, the ceramics market in New Zealand was dominated, exclusively, by English manufacturers. On the basis of information relayed to them by their New Zealand-based agents, the potteries of Stoke-on-Trent teamed up with import/export houses, based primarily in London, to determine what ceramics would be selected and distributed in New Zealand. It was a small, unsophisticated but lucrative market. The wares sent out were generally conservative in their design, repeating the shapes and patterns of familiar wares. When New Zealand manufacturers began producing tablewares during the import substitute phases that followed the institution of import licensing in 1938, they simply reproduced the familiar products of Stoke-on-Trent. External influences on the design of ceramics produced industrially in New Zealand were limited: the studio wares of the Anglo Japanese potting tradition (Temuka's stoneware lines); mid-20th century simple hand painted wares from the Netherlands, Sweden and Italy (Crown Lynn's brief foray into art ware in the mid 1950s); and American industrial ceramics (notably the rimless plates and the Dorothy Thorpe inspired wares produced at Crown Lynn). There was no reference to the larger European ceramic tradition or to those of Islam and China; to all intent and purpose they had no bearing on local practice.
|Unidentified painter/Royal Saxon Porcelain Manufactory, Meissen, Tea bowl and saucer, porcelain, enamel painting and gilt, [c. 1730]. The extensive gilding and its baroque design suggests an early date of production.|
Mackelvie Trust Board collection, Auckland Museum (1932.233)
|Ceramics Study Gallery at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. This publicly accessible display storage gallery, which stretches for over half a kilometre, displays a representative portion of the museums collection of ceramics|
|Screenshot of the Auckland Museum's entry for a tea bowl and saucer in the Mackelvie Trust Board collection (September 2015)|
|Screenshot of a part of the British Museum's entry for a plate produced at the Imperial Porcelain Factory, Lomonosov, Russia (September 2015)|
<N Lobanov-Rostovsky, Revolutionary ceramics: Soviet porcelain 1917-1927 (London: John Calman and King, 1990), pp. 154-155>. The design appears, rather more confidently executed, on a plate formerly in the Nicholas Lynn collection dated 1925, published in 1990 by Nina Lobanov-Rostovsky (Fig. 3).
M S Kuznetsov Partnership Factory – '[a double-headed imperial eagle] / т в2 / мс кузнецова / дф' – at Dulevo, outside Moscow. This might not be so much of a problematic given that it's known that Adamovich worked at the Dulevo factory between 1927 and 1933 and it is not without the realms of possibility he may have provided a painter at the Kuznetsov factory with the design; the painted date on the obverse might relate to the date of the original design, rather than the decoration of the blank.
|Rudolf Vilde (1868-1941) / State Porcelain Factory, 'Sieg der Werktätigen 25 Oktober/Victory to the workers 25 October', enamelled porcelain plate (1921). The plate commemorates, in German, Labour Day celebrations|
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (78.1288)
Recognised for what it is rather than what it was intended to be seen as, the 'Heroes of the Battle for the Motherland' plate was acquired for a modest sum at Portobello Market in London in 1995.