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Adams, John

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1882-1953 Active in SA: 1914-1921

Left school at the age of thirteen to join the studio of a tile-producing firm. Studied at the Hanley School of Art. During his early twenties joined the decoration studio of Bernard Moore - specialised in "flambe" and lustre painting. 1908: Won one of ten national scholarships to the Royal College of Art. After three years training joined the staff of the Royal College. At that time married Gertrude (Truda) Sharp, also at the R.C.A. (J. Hawkins, The Poole Potteries, Barrie & Jenkins, 1980) 1915: Invited to Natal as Head of the Durban School of Art (Natal Technical College) on the recommendation of Augustus Spencer, head of the Royal College of Art. (Looking back, The Common Room Magazine, Durban, Summer 1938 p. 29f) Established a pottery school there. (J. Adams, early days of pottery, The Common Room Magazine, Durban, June 1941, p. 6f) 1917-20: Organised annual Winter School of lectures for art teachers and students. (Adams contributed by giving a series of lectures of general interest: eg. What is art? The Natal Mercury, 1 October 1920 p. 6; Art education and the industries, The Natal Mercury, 16 July 1917 p. 11 col. 5-7) March 1921: Returned to England on holiday and decided to stay. (J. Adams, Looking back, The Common Room Magazine, Durban, Summer 1938 p. 29f) Joined Harold and Phoebe Stabler at Carter, Stabler & Adams Ltd (Poole's Pottery) and worked there until his retirement in 1950. (J. Hawkins, The Poole Potteries, Barrie & Jenkins, 1980)

He had a profound and lasting influence on all those involved at the Ceramic Studio.

[Dr Melanie Hillebrand. 1991. The Woman of Olifantsfontein – South African Studio Ceramics. Cape Town: South African National Gallery. p 13]



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