– Esias Bosch – Studio Potter & Artist: 1923 to 2010 –
In 1949 he won a three-year scholarship to study ceramics in Britain, working initially under Dora Billington, then Ray Finch in Winchcombe, and finally Michael Cardew in Cornwall. This experience enabled him to become a pioneer of studio pottery in South Africa, where he worked in his rustic studio (built on the top of a rocky outcrop) for the remainder of his career, which spanned over sixty years.
Amongst Bosch’s most fascinating works are his large decorative wall tiles and the smaller porcelain pieces that he creates. These two genres often integrate the same motifs of birds, animals and insects. Bosch was deeply inspired by the still lifes of Bonard, as well as Monet’s Water Lilies. Indeed, in this small table consisting of thirty-seven tiles, painted with a soft neutral colour palette, we can see a simplified water lily along with other grass flowers such as Themeda Triandra and the Pennisetum Macrourum flower spike.
International prominence followed with his tile work in prominent buildings such as the Wesbank Building in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, which consisted of a large stoneware mural with over five thousand individual tiles. In addition, his work in the International Departure Hall at Jan Smuts Airport (1972) consisted of three thousand of his tiles. However, these were destroyed when the terminal was demolished to make way for the more modern O.R. Tambo Airport.