Crown Lynn: Crockery of Distinction addresses the contemporary situation of our best known local ceramic tradition by asking: how do Crown Lynn objects operate now? Drawing on a range of private and publicly held collections, the exhibition considers the company’s vital role in a history of home-grown creativity, international influence and innovative design, and the nature of collecting itself. From select examples of Crown Lynn’s mass produced lines, through to the self-consciously modern designs of some key designers, these objects are considered for their continuing relevance in our cultural history.
Rather than presenting a single definitive narrative, this exhibition navigates some of the myriad lines of fascination Crown Lynn holds over twenty years after its closure. Re-presenting Crown Lynn for a twenty-first century audience, it acknowledges that there are many different Crown Lynns to many different people; this aspect at least partially accounts for its exceptional hold on the cultural imagination.
At the heart of this exhibition is the Richard Quinn collection, administered by the Portage Ceramics Trust. This significant collection was amassed via purchase, auction, and through Quinn’s intriguing archaeological exploration of the factory site following its demolition in 1989. Quinn created a ‘magpie collection’, light on many of Crown Lynn’s crowning glories, but rich in many other areas including industrial objects, production equipment, archival materials, models and test pieces. An edited selection from this collection is addressed chronologically, used to offer a loose survey of the company’s considerable output, mapping aesthetic shifts and the sheer breadth of Crown Lynn’s vision, spanning over five decades.
Twelve additional private collections are integrated within this, each with a specific focus on one aspect of product, process, maker or story connected to Crown Lynn. Billy Apple’s collection of American designer Dorothy Thorpe’s range; John Parker’s incorporation of a major collection of Ernest Shufflebotham’s whiteware into his own ceramic practice; a selection of Bellamy ware from the 1970s commissioned Parliamentary range: each offers a distinct inflection on shared history. Collectively they demonstrate Crown Lynn’s unique contribution to New Zealand society, culture and design.
The exhibition is shaped around the many collectors and collections involved in its development. Forgoing a comprehensive or authoritative line for a lively, speculative and at times idiosyncratic approach, Crown Lynn: Crockery of Distinction acknowledges the often highly personal and everyday nature of this story. Bringing these collections together and back into public visibility means re-activating a longstanding conversation, one about our nation’s industrial, social and design history, about the human desire to collect and hoard, and about the relation between this history and now.
Entry Charges Apply
$4 Concession (Senior/Students/Children)
$15 Family (2 adults, up to 3 children)
Free entry on Wednesdays
Crown Lynn Publication
Download the stylish Crown Lynn booklet which accompanies the exhibition:
Curators' and Collectors' Tour of Crown Lynn: Crockery of Distinction
Saturday 29 January, 2pm. Admission charges apply.
Trish Clark discusses Crown Lynn
Wednesday 9 February, 2pm
Artist's Talk—John Parker
Wednesday 13 April, 2pm
Artist's Workshop—Asumi Mizuo
Saturday 9 April, 2–4pm
Wednesday 23 February, 10:30am
Wednesday 23 March, 10:30am
Wednesday 20 April, 10:30am
Exhibition Supported by