See Hatton Becks ceramic paintings

See Hatton Becks ceramic works

Cermaic Painting by Hatton Beck

Henry Hatton Beck was born was on the 18th of May, 1901, in Cassilis, a former gold mining town near Omeo in eastern Victoria. His father, Henry Nicholas Beck, was a schoolmaster there. In 1906 Hatton's family moved from Cassilis. They lived in different parts of regional Victoria, including at Mollongghip near Ballarat.

Hatton Beck's birth-place of Cassilis near Omeo in eastern Victoria

At Mollongghip, Hatton observed different types of clays in nearby creeks. He mixed white and red clays to make marbles look like agates, and modelled animals and fired them in fires. These were Hatton’s first pottery-making experiences. His artistic ability was encouraged by his father, who was involved with the Gould League of Bird Lovers. Hatton drew and painted birds for the Gould League. Hatton had a grand uncle who had a pottery in Bairnsdale, making terracotta tiles and flowerpots. Hatton was very impressed by his wood firing kiln, and by his throwing of flowerpots on the wheel. He showed Hatton how to make marbles, which he hardened in the ash pit of his kiln.

Hatton Beck at age 15

In 1918, the Beck family family moved to Webster Street, Oakleigh, where Hatton continued to develop his interest in modelling and pottery. As well as this, he was a keen singer, and sang in a local choir. Hatton spent some years living and working in North Queensland in the 1920s. This was on his doctor’s advice because of a scar on his lung, probabely caused by influenza, which he had when he was an infant. He worked as an accountant on the Atherton tablelands, and in sugar mills in the Cairns area.

Hatton Beck at Tarzali, North Queensland 1920s

On returning to Oakleigh, Hatton established a studio with a kiln. By this time, he had built up a solid knowledge of kilns and the processes involved in firing pottery. He had heard of potter Merric Boyd who lived nearby, and visited him at his home at Wahroongaa Crescent, Murrumbeena, which he named Open Country. Merric married artist and poet Doris Gough in 1915. He was by this time a well-known and successful potter. When Merric's pottery was destroyed by fire in 1926, Hatton fired his ceramics until his new pottery was built a year later. The two men got on well and worked together at Murrumbeena. Hatton also knew William Ricketts and helped him with his kilns in his Dandenong Ranges pottery.

Merric Boyd bust by Hatton Beck c. 1940 *

Drawing of Hatton Beck by Merric Boyd 1946

In the 1930’s, Hatton worked for potteries including for Cooper and Cooks, and Fowlers, where he became head of their art department. In 1939, he married Merric’s daughter, Lucy, at Open Country, and they lived there in a bungalow behind the main house. He established the Altimera Pottery at 500 Neerim Road, Murrumbeena, making jugs and other utilitarian ceramics - a government requirement because of War. In 1943 Hatton sold the pottery to his brother-in-law Arthur Boyd, John Perceval and Peter Herbst, who established the Arthur Merric Boyd Pottery. Hatton then joined the air force, seeing out his service stationed in Melbourne. In 1947 Hatton and Lucy and their two sons, Laurence and Robert, moved to Brisbane. Hatton was employed as an instructor of pottery at Brisbane Central Technical College. In his spare time, he began making ceramic paintings. He developed textured highly glazes for these, and for his pottery. His ceramic paintings often featured landscapes, with a great variety of colour and texture. His rocky creek pictures were particularly effective. He and Lucy lived in Brisbane for thirteen years and it was during this time, that their third son, Paul, was born.

North Queensland landscape painted by Hatton Beck 1960

Photograph, North Queensland with Hattons & Lucy Boyd-Beck's VW car

Merric Boyd died in 1959 and Doris Boyd in 1960. Following her death, Hatton and Lucy returned to Melbourne and lived at Open Country. They established a pottery school there and as well as teaching, produced, exhibited and sold their own pottery.

Hatton & Lucy Boyd-Beck at Open Country Murrumbeena c. 1962

A section of Hatton
& Lucy Boyd-Beck's first exhibition at Open Country Murrumbeena c. 1962

In 1963, they moved to Boronia for a short time before traveling to London. Hatton worked at the National Gallery there. He, Lucy and their son, Robert established a pottery, at Wandsworth Common. They made lamp bases, mugs, decorated plates and bowls, and other utilitarian wares. Hatton also taught pottery during this time.

Hatton and Lucy Boyd-Beck's shop at Wandsworth Common, London c. 1968

Hatton and Lucy returned to Melbourne to live at Surf Avenue, Beaumaris, where they continued working in ceramics. They worked both together and seperately. It was during this period that they created many of their most rematkable ceramic tiles. Their last working period was at Bayswater. There, Hatton to worked into his late eighties, experimenting with materials such as scoria and rocks, and coloured glass to achieve the glistening water effect of his streams. Hatton died on the 24th of November, 1994. The quality originality and diversity of his ceramic creations stands testimant to his knowledge and skill in working with both clay and glaze. His knowledge of glaze chemistry and kilns was, and remains, unsurpassed.

Ceramic painting by Hatton Beck c.1963

Hatton and Lucy held many exhibitions throughout Australia and their work is represented in many public collections including :
National Gallery of Victoria;
Newcastle Art Gallery; Shepparton Art Gallery; University of Newcastle

Hatton Beck His Life In Art
Hatton Beck's Ceramic Paintings

Hatton produced his ceramic tiles between 1969, after he and Lucy returned from England, and 1990. He would draw a design onto a tile in pencil and then paint it in glaze, applying it with a knife or brush. Sometimes it would be sponged on and occasionally he would apply it with his fingers.

Ceramic painting by Lucy Boyd-Beck on tile hand made by Hatton Beck c. 1973

He used a great variety of glazes. These were often home-made, and drawn from his recipe book. He often used iron, copper and cobalt in his glazes, along with dolomite and volcanic glaze, and clear glaze. The affect of water was generally achieved using clear glaze with a little colour added. He would sometimes mix in oxides like tin oxide for highlighting, and copper and manganese for shading. He would fire and re-fire a tile and with each firing, add more glaze to highlight aspects of his painting. The number of firings varied from tile to tile because of the individual nature of each work. Hatton initially made his own tiles. These were very effective, but he found a smoother surface to work on using shelves made for kilns. Later on in life, his tiles became more abstract in nature. He began using scoria to achieve a true rock effect, and glass such as broken green glass for a watery effect. In short, he would use anything that he could find to achieve an effect that he wanted. These tiles were very experimental and reflect the vitality and curiosity he had for ceramics throughout his life.


Ceramic Paintings by Hatton Beck


Ceramic painting

Ceramic painting

Creek at Walhalla Ceramic painting 25x30cm c.1974

The river gaints Ceramic painting 36x41cm
Ceramic painting 35x40cm

Ceramic painting

Ceramic painting

Ceramic painting
Ceramic painting

Ceramic painting

Great trees little creek Ceramic painting 36x41cm

Russe rocks and meandering stream Ceramic
painting 30x36cm c. 1977


Ceramic painting

Ceramic painting
Log over pool Ceramic painting 25x35cm

Ceramic painting 17.5x23cm


Wattle Tree Creek
Ceramic painting 40.5cmx35.5cm, 1982

Cascade In Wilderness Country
Ceramic painting 34x29.5cm, 1982

The Old Oak Tree Ceramic painting 50.5cmx35cm

Two Brown Trees In Bush 41x32cm

Ceramic painting 41x25cm

Tree in ruggered bush Ceramic painting 18x34cm


Ceramic painting

Ceramic painting 16x12cm

Ceramic Paintings from Hatton Beck's Latter Years

Ceramic painting 40x35.5cm

Ceramic painting 35x30cm


Other Ceramic Creations by Hatton Beck

Hatton Beck had gained an enormous amount of experience in clay and glaze by the time he began the making his remarkable ceramic paintings. These are some of the ceramic works that he made throughout this long life in art.

Ceramic sculptured candle holder c. 1970 *

Ceramic goat sculpture c. 1980 *

Ceramic sculptured candle holder c. 1970 *

Ceramic buttons & pendant c.1985 *

Ceramic sculpture c. 1980 *

Ceramic decanter & beakers c. 1963 *

Ceramic Goat sculpture by Hatton Beck. *

Small pot with lid c.1963 *

Fowlers teapot hand painted by Hatton Beck c. 1935 *

Decanters & Pot c. 1963 & c. 1970 *

Decanter H. 23cm

Bas Relief of St Paticks Cathedral, Melbourne
c. 1935*

Jug designed by Hatton Beck at Fowlers c .1935 *                       Lucy, Hatton Beck, Insiced Base                  Vase   9.5cm x 10cm

Vase c.1935                                                                                         Vase c. 1935                                                    Vase c. 1935

Vase c. 1935                                                                           Art Deco Blue Tea Set c. 1930                                  Lamp Base 15 cm x 19.5 cm


Links to .....

Read Hatton Beck's reminisces of early kiln building in Victoria

A Hatton Beck sketch for kiln building

Hatton Beck with ceramic
sculpture at Beaumaris
c. 1970

Hatton Beck throwing at Brisbane
Central Technical Collage
c. 1956

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* * * Other Web Sites By Us * * *
* * * * * * *

The Life & Art of Friedl Gardner
Merric Boyd His Life & His Art
Doris Boyd A Life in Family and Art
Jean Langley Painter and Writer
Lucy Boyd Beck A Life In Family and Art

This web site was conceived by Colin Smith, written by Robert Beck and developed by Paul Caine and Colin Smith in
partnership and with permission from Lucy Beck.


All photographs have been reproduced with permission of Copyright Owner.
* Photographed by Paul Caine.