Inspiration and Protégé

3 Jun 2022

Auction of Ceramics from the Combined Collections of Professors Ditchburn & Armstrong and Oriental Works of Art from the Hylton Nel Collection including Ceramics by Nico Masemola.

Strauss & Co is delighted to present a Live Virtual boutique auction titled “Inspiration and Protégé: Ceramics from the Combined Collections of Professors Ditchburn & Armstrong and Oriental Works of Art from the Hylton Nel Collection including Ceramics by Nico Masemola”, which will take place on 13 June at Welgemeend Manor House in Cape Town. 

The first session of this specialist sale brings together important bodies of ceramic artworks from the combined collections of Professors Hilda Ditchburn and Juliet Armstrong, both of whom taught at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, (now the University of KwaZulu-Natal). These works range from important English ceramics to Spanish, Dutch, Italian and Chinese blue and white, and include pieces by internationally renowned potters, Bernard Leach and Lucie Rie. Some of the first studio pottery stoneware works in South Africa by Ditchburn, fired in a kiln of her own design in the early 1950s, will also be featured.

Armstrong’s own technical mastery of bone china and porcelain is evident in works subsequently executed by her students and peers such as Ian Garrett, Professor Ian Calder, PJ Andersen and, significantly, a rare and important self portrait by Bonnie Ntshalintshali, which will also be on offer. Further highlights include a rare decorated vessel by Azolina MaMncube Ngema as well as beer brewing vessels by the widely acclaimed Nesta Nala, and a collection of pots by the Magwaza Family with whom Armstrong shared a special relationship.

The second session, Oriental Works of Art from the Hylton Nel Collection including Ceramics by Nico Masemola, demonstrates a selection of forms that have inspired both the glazes and shapes that influenced the widely celebrated potter, Hylton Nel, and which, in turn, can be seen in the extensive body of work by his protégé, Nico Masemola.

Masemola, under Nel’s tutorship, can be considered the first in what has been dubbed the “School of Nel”, which emerged from his teaching at his studio in Calitzdorp. Here he applied his extensive technical knowledge to teaching members of the community, thereby empowering a new generation of ceramic artists. 

The auction takes place at 10am and 3pm on Monday 13 June at Welgemeend Manor House is Cape Town. Register, bid and follow the auction in real time: www.straussart.co.za