The potter responsible for most Remued production was Allan James who had originally been taught throwing by David Dee. In 1951-52 he set up a second small pottery operation using an electric kiln, not at Oakover Road but in the backyard of his home at 16 Esther St, Preston. It may be speculated that he was preparing to abandon Premier Pottery, which probably would have meant the end of Premier because the pottery revolved around him. Whatever transpired it is known that, about that time, his position at Premier changed from being an employee in a firm owned by Reg Hawkins to being a co-owner. He continued to work by day at Premier and worked evenings at home as well.
The 'backyard' product, not surprisingly, bore a close similarity in style to contemporary Remued production from Oakover Road. A new numbering series was instigated, the 'A' Series, marketed alongside the Later Series through the same agents. Like the Later Series the 'A' Series started at number 1 but it was distinguished by the prefix letter 'A'. Initially 'A' Series shapes were nearly all new, not repeating previous shapes. They included various ramekins (that favourite of 1950s potters), lamp bases, dishes and vases.
Premier Pottery Preston finally ceased production in 1955-56 following difficulties over the lease of the premises. Allan James established Kerryl Pottery in the nearby Melbourne suburb of Reservoir, at 53 Banbury Rd, and transferred production of 'A' Series items there. Reg Hawkins did not join him. The series was extended with new shapes and new styles of glazing reflecting changing fashions of the time. Familiar shapes from the Later Series also made a re-appearance, particularly after about number A88. Slip-casting was introduced for some designs, replicating popular pieces from other potteries including Beswick, Shorter & Son and E.G.Greenway. Many - perhaps all - of these 'A' Series moulds were made by John Gardner (1924-65), an experienced mould-maker who had previously worked at Fowlers but who now undertook part-time freelance work at home for clients that included Elischer and Kerryl.
'A' Series pieces were usually unsigned although a few larger pieces are recorded signed 'Kerryl'. Many pieces have Kerryl stickers and some are found bearing a second sticker inside with the words "Impervious to water. Fully guaranteed against any defect in workmanship". The shape number is often followed by a diagonal slash, often with a suffix denoting the glaze style; for details see here. Although shape numbers are usually incised like Remued, some slip-cast shapes have the number moulded in low relief and there are some examples where the number is rubber-stamped.
Kerryl Pottery also introduced a further numbering series with the prefix letter 'M'. Perhaps 'A' stood for Allan and 'M' for Myrtle, his wife. Certainly Kerryl was named after their son Kerry. There was also a 'B' series. The business went on to produce a varied range of pottery for over twenty years.
Most 'A' Series shapes are hard to find today, an exception being the A1 and A2 ramekins. Many would be unknown were it not for a potters' shape book that fortunately survived, kept by the James family. For some reason, several slip-cast shapes are found almost exclusively in South Australia.
For the catalogue number index of 'A' Series / Kerryl click here.
A very early 'A' Series price list, dated October 1952, is reproduced here.
For a small selection of later Kerryl shapes after the 'A' Series (including the 'M' and 'B' Series) click here.
A fine 'A' Series / Kerryl collection. Some shapes are slip-cast, unlike Remued, but some others are identical to Remued. White stipple which had become the most popular Remued glaze by the mid 1950s is seen to continue into the 'A' Series.