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James Gilson


James Gilson | Australia QLD 1865-1927 | Pioneer Pottery | Australia QLD 1907-14 | Bread plate c.1910 | Earthenware with Majolica glaze | 32.5 x 27.5cm | Purchased 2011. Andrew and Lilian Pedersen Trust

Pioneer Pottery
Bread plate  c.1910

Potteries in Australia during the nineteenth century produced basic functional wares, while sophisticated manufacturers in Britain produced the finer quality wares sold and used in the colonies.As the century progressed, however, some Australian potteries produced majolica-glazed pieces, with bread-plates considered their benchmark of achievement.

James Gilson (1865-1927) served his seven-year apprenticeship at the famous Bendigo Pottery at Epsom, Victoria. He worked in various potteries in Lithgow and Willoughby in New South Wales and at Ipswich, in Queensland, before he established the Pioneer Pottery at Kleinton, outside Toowoomba, in 1907. As well as bread plates with the standard lettering ‘Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread’, the Pioneer Pottery also produced a version with the text in German — ‘Unser Täglich Brot Gib Uns Heute’ — this is unique in Australia. It has been largely forgotten that many more German migrants settled in Queensland during the nineteenth century than in South Australia, but, without the focus of the wine industry, the German settlers here dispersed across the state and quickly assimilated.