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The Egyptian Box 1927

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Clem Ainslie - Harvey School - The Egyptian Box 1927

Clem Ainslie – Harvey School – The Egyptian Box 1927

  The Egyptian Box

Slab-built of pyramidal form, with flattend lid having flarring corners, on four angular feet.

Slip-decorated in grey-blue on an opaque white ground in the Egyptian style with continuous a freize of figures holding offerings, walking to the left through tall lotus blooms, the lid with a border of stylized flower heads, the large knop modelled as a sphinx.

Signed & dated 1927.

Size: 14cm square

Item #18

“This box cracked in the kiln, but mum loved it so much she couldn’t bring herself to throw it away….”

The Egyptian pieces are apparently unique creations by Clem, and have no parallels in Australian Pottery of this period. The date is important, as it was a time of great interest in all things Egyptian. This was stimulated by the extraordinary reports coming out of Egypt after the discovery and excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb from 1922. The newspapers and journals would have been full of images of Egyptian art, and it struck a chord with the between-wars taste for Art Deco, with its simple forms and stylized figures in silhouette.

The design and balance of these two remarkable original works shows Clem’s excellent eye for design, and the whimsical sphinx shows her quirky humour.

The origin for the design has a nostalgic side for her daughter:

“Clem had a cousin, who was very  fond of her and would bring her gifts. One was a book with illustrations of Egyptian art, which is where she got the idea for these Egyptian pieces….”


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