Archival Collection donated to Royal Ontario Museum (exerpt from Club Newsletter)
The BMPCC met at the Royal Ontario Museum on April 17, 2005 for a very special event. Robert Blair, the last owner and president of Blue Mountain Pottery in Collingwood, Ontario, was the guest speaker. But Mr. Blair was not there only to talk about his career at the pottery - he presented the ROM with 11 documentary pieces of Blue Mountain Pottery that had been previously on view in the “museum collection” display cases in the factory’s retail store.
Brian Musselwhite, assistant curator in the Western Art and Culture Department of the ROM’s World Cultures Division, accepted the pieces on behalf of the Museum. “We are pleased that Mr.Blair has chosen the ROM to have these important examples of Blue Mountain Pottery,” says Musselwhite. “These pieces represent a range of time periods, shapes and glazes. They are a significant addition to the ROM’s collection of these types of wares.”
The “Antique Blue” glaze on the tall vase in Blair’s donation played a significant role in the history of Blue Mountain Pottery. A wheel-turned vase and bowl with this glaze, made by Domenic Stanzione in the company’s Pottery Observation Studio, received a “Design of Merit” award from the National Design Council in 1967.
From the ROM’s collections, Musselwhite showed a West German vase (vase on the far right) with an almost identical glaze. It was marked W.GERMANY 520 32 and had a white body with a blue glaze over a matte black under glaze. This astonishing discovery (similar to the connection collectors have already identified between Blue Mountain Pottery’s Apollo line of brown, white and orange moon crater glazed wares and almost identical West German wares) highlights the ingenuity and au courant market response that made Blue Mountain Pottery so successful.
During the show and tell session, collectors saw an “Antique Blue” moulded bean pot and a wheel turned ashtray. A wide variety of unusual shapes and glazes were also shown. Door prizes were a 12-½ inch blue dolphin (model 197, in production for 33 years, from circa 1971 to 2004) signed by Mr. Blair, and a t-shirt printed with three Blue Mountain Pottery angelfish vases (model 58, created by Dennis Tupy, the firm’s first designer and mould maker, in production for 31 years, from about 1955 to 1986.
Mr. Blair’s Donation as described by Conrad Biernacki
Vase, hand painted polychrome floral decoration over clear glaze, gilded line at rim and base, hand written mark: Blue Mountain Hand Painted Collingwood Ontario Canada, moulded white earthenware body most likely made in the United States, 4 inches tall, 1953.
Creamer, hand incised Iroquois-style (geometric) decoration (inspired by an Iroquois pot shard found on the farm of Jozo Weider, owner of Blue Mountain Pottery), turquoise glaze, stamped with unusual version of Craigleith Shield mark, moulded white body, 3 inches, circa 1955.
Pair of swans, green glaze, unmarked, Heritage Craftsmen hangtag, moulded red body, 18 and 15-¾ inches, 1972, introduced circa 1958.
Jug, mottled blue and brown glaze, Three Trees mark, Georgian Bay Pottery hangtag, moulded red body, 6-½ inches, 1967.
Cat with bowtie, candy stripe (pastel polychrome) glaze, unmarked, Muskoka Collection hangtag, moulded red body, 12-½ inches, 1967.
Bean pot with lid, mocha glaze, unmarked, wheel-turned red body, 7 inches, 1967.
Candlestick, mustard and ketchup (yellow and orange) glaze, unmarked, International Silver Studio Selection hangtag, moulded red body, 7 inches, 1967.
Vase with “Antique Blue” (mottled blue over black) glaze, unmarked, wheel-turned red body, 18-½ inches, 1967.
Signature jug, blue glaze, Three Trees mark, International Silver hangtag, moulded red body, 6-¾ inches, 1968.
Jug Georgian Bay green (avocado) glaze, Made in Canada mark, moulded red body, 5-½ inches, 1970.
Triple candlestick, red glaze, unmarked, moulded red body, 5-½ inches. 1970.